The Patient History - Medicine Work Experience? Practical advice from successful applicants!
The patient consultation is a key tool in the arsenal of every health professional. The history taken will point practitioners towards the correct diagnosis and help any prospective treatment plan match the needs of the patient.
Whilst it is evidently very important, it is difficult to know how to get the most out of observing this experience as a work experience student.
Zero medical knowledge is needed to appreciate the consultation process, in fact, you may well gain better insights by avoiding focusing on purely medical content!
The following insider tips on what to focus on when observing a consultation are from successful medical school applicants!
Focus on how different questions assist Doctors clinical reasoning – this is a Doctors ability to analyse clinical information and decide based on it.
Look at the categories of questions the Doctor asks e.g., family history or medication history–how do each of these contribute to the holistic care a patient receives?
The Doctor needs to build a relationship with the patient during the consultation so they will share their information and look at how they do this.
Information sharing is a key element of a patient consultation, looking at how the Doctor breaks down medical concepts and summarises them in terms that are familiar to the patient.
I have identified some key points from the history, what now?
Reflection and analysis! Spend 10-20 minutes writing your thoughts on what you have seen, what it taught you about medicine and what you are going to do going forward.
We can't stress this enough; medical schools choose reflective applicants!
They need to see what you can learn from your experience and think about what you see. When they ask you about work experience at an interview, they will expect reflective answers.
Now Have a Go
For a full (short) video guide on reflection and a free reflective template, please read our blog linked below and then watch the example patient consultation.