Aberdeen medical students get taste of GP role

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GP talking to patientImage source, Getty Images

A new project has been developed to allow first-year medical student in Scotland to watch GP consultation for the first time.

Previously, trainee doctors had to wait up to four years to experience the consultation room.

GP Live was developed by Aberdeen University and uses streaming software to enter the consultation room.

Researchers hope it will encourage more students to join general practice and help ease a recruitment crisis.

The software will stream consultations just moments after they happen in an effort to give students a flavour of life as a GP.

The system utilises one of the University's Digitally Enhanced Learning Spaces (DELS), where students can engage in interactive learning with the aid of 55-inch display screens and state-of-the-art web conference tools.

It was developed by Dr John McKeown, a senior clinical lecturer and GP at Cults Medical Group in Aberdeen.

He said: "The biggest appeal for students is that they are seeing consultations that are almost live, and this adds a sense of immediacy that appeals to students who have grown up in an era where digitisation has made learning far more interactive.

"We aim to make the sessions as engaging as possible by discussing the GP's approach while the consultation takes place - for example how they communicate, the direction that they take the consultation, and of course their recommended course of action."

Range of skills

Dr McKeown said that one of the main benefits of the system was that students and lecturers would be able to discuss consultations that have taken place at a variety of practices, where the issues could be very different.

He added: "This means that students get a real insight into the challenges facing GPs who might operate in less affluent areas, or in remote rural locations.

"The system also allows us to work through a number of different consultations in succession, which very much mimics a typical morning for a GP.

"This allows us to see the range of skills - interpersonal, diagnostic and otherwise - that they bring to a normal working day."

Dr McKeown said that by the time current first year students graduated there would be a pressing need for new GPs in Scotland.

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