GP Needed Stat! Workshop at 2012 AMSA Convention

Each year, the Australian Medical Student Council (AMSA) holds a National Medical Student Convention. In early July, over 800 students from across Australia converged on Perth for a week of activities. WAGPET was heavily involved in the Convention presenting an interactive clinical skills workshop “GP Needed Stat”, to give medical students an understanding of a GPs role in managing a life threatening emergency case - anaphylaxis. Our team included: Drs Sandie Dobney and Michelle McNamara, WAGPET Medical Educators, Bridgette Sara, WAGPET Officer, and Lydia Goldstein and Leanne McNamara, both up-and-coming actresses. 

Despite stiff competition, with simultaneous classes in “Zumba” and “Speed Dating” taking place, the session was well attended by around 30 medical students at different stages in training. The workshop revolved around the management of a medical emergency in the general practice setting. To facilitate this, a typical general practice environment was created with a busy medical receptionist (Lydia) occupying the front desk, a nurse (Leanne) diligently undertaking a vaccination clinic and a GP (Michelle) consulting with a patient (Bridgette). The medical students were made aware of the consulting doctors list of patients for the day and were instructed that they would be helping her with a particular case. The medical students were duly provided with a clinical scenario and some resources to assist in their problem solving. This was, of course, a deliberate distraction aimed at diverting their attention from the real scenario that subsequently unfolded in front of them. 

Employing acting skills fit for Oscar nomination, the WAGPET team then enacted a scene where a patient acutely unwell with anaphylaxis attended the front desk. The sick patient was initially sat in the busy waiting room prior to being seen by the nurse who just happened to pass by this area. The following half hour involved the role playing of anaphylaxis management, with breaks during which interactive teaching took place. This included the teaching of adrenaline administration via an epipen and anapen by Sandie and myself, with the students having a chance to practice using demonstration equipment. 

Further learning opportunities involved discussing other aspects of anaphylaxis management, the role of the General Practice “team” and how the management of a sick patient could be optimised in the future. The importance of triaging sick patients at the front desk and positioning of emergency protocols within the practice were emphasised.

The workshop was largely interactive with great participation by the medical student audience. Feedback from the medical students was obtained and this supported that they had both enjoyed the workshop and gained confidence in the management of anaphylaxis.  A presentation on the Prevocational General Practice Placement Program (PGPPP) was then provided by Dr Michelle McNamara and this generated a lot of interest from students studying in WA and at interstate medical schools. Discussion within the WAGPET team on completion of the workshop revealed that we all found the undertaking rewarding whilst simultaneously serving to sharpen our own clinical management of one of the more serious emergency presentations seen in the general practice setting.

By Dr David Evans 

WAGPET Subsequent GP Registrar 


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