Mesude Erşan - İZMİR
A training program at the Medical Faculty of Dokuz Eylül University in the Aegean province of İzmir employs “performing patients” for developing the professional and communication abilities of trainee doctors.
Ten women and 15 men have played the role of “performing patients” up to today, while over 3,100 doctors have graduated from the program.
Sevinç Fotbol, 50, a retired worker, has played the role of a patient for the program for eight years, acting as if she has a headache or a cardiac problem depending on the day.
“I trust these doctors who are trained here,” Fotbol said, adding that she loves her job.
This training program has been in operation since 1997 at Dokuz Eylül University.
Within the scope of the program, the faculty aims to make doctors better communicators with patients and develop their diagnostic and therapeutic skills through student role-plays and almost 100 video materials.
Doctor candidates graduate after almost 270 hours of communicative education over six years.
The dean of the faculty, Professor Oğuz Dicle, said all levels of the education process are measured by scientific methods.
“Diseases change the psychology of patients. This can cause social problems. We study theoretical and professional ability in parallel here,” Dicle said.
From the first class, students are educated for empathy, listening, oral and open communication, developing awareness as they also perform the role of patients.
One of the graduated doctors, Yağmur Damla Akçura, said she was pleased to have taken this communication lesson.
“I now use many different communicational abilities. I am grateful for this education, which helps me deal with things I’ve experienced in the job including being exposed to violence at times,” she said.