The Jakarta Post
At the start of the new academic year at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) there was an unusual arrival. Sven didn't provide any academic credentials in advance; neither did he pay any tuition fees. In fact NUMed made a significant investment to get him on board. This is because Sven isn't a student or a lecturer. He is actually a simulated patient, used for special medical training purposes.
Since his arrival Sven has become a central part of the learning experience at NUMed and has revolutionised the way that medical training is delivered at the British university. In fact, he is so popular with the students that the university thought he needed his own name, Sven was chosen in honour of his development by a Swedish company.
Sven gets involved in a variety of training scenarios to prepare the medical students for everything from standard clinical procedures to acute care situations. Students can practice techniques to clear a patient's airway or insert an intravenous drip line into a vein, as well as treat emergencies such as heart-attack or septic shock.
But Sven isn't a passive patient. In fact he is so true to life that he reacts to the treatments he is receiving. He coughs, he talks and he breathes. In fact he has even died several times.
According to Professor Bradley, Academic Dean at NUMed, this is a crucial part of the learning experience. He said: 'Sven, our simulated patient, adds a whole new dimension to the learning experience. Patient simulation allows students to go beyond the theory taught in the classroom and get hands-on experience in critical care situations. It means they can learn from their mistakes in a risk free environment, which is very powerful.'
Patient simulation has traditionally been associated with real-life volunteers role-playing as medical patients for the purpose of training medical students. This interactive training method is one of the ways the students' professional communication skills are developed to facilitate the delivery of patient-centric care. However this form of simulation has certain limitations and doesn't allow for hands-on training for some life-saving techniques. This is one of the reasons that simulated patients, in the form of mannequins, are becoming more and more popular.
Simulated patients, like Sven, are a central part of the learning experience at Newcastle University, UK as well. In fact students at the state-of-the-art branch-campus in Nusajaya, in the state of Johor, use the simulated patients for exactly the same scenarios as those in UK.
This is one of the many synergies between the two campuses. They also share identical standards, teaching methods and curriculums, and all degrees are conferred by Newcastle University UK. Selected staff members rotate between the two, in fact even the students are given the opportunity to undertake six months study in the UK. This truly ensures that NUMed and Newcastle University, UK, benefit from the best that each campus has to offer.
Sven is a single man for now, but he has proved so valuable, there is every chance he will be getting a family in the future. The addition of a wife and child will further enhance NUMed's holistic medical training for Tomorrow's Doctors.
Applications are now open for the September 2015 intakes. To apply, please visit: www.newcastle.edu.my
Newcastle University UK, has established an international branch campus in Johor, Malaysia to provide its undergraduate degrees in Medicine (MB BS) and the Biomedical Sciences (BSc), and opportunities for postgraduate study. The programmes of study are equivalent to those of Newcastle's UK-based provision, and lead to the award of the same degrees. By choosing to study at NUMed Malaysia, students will obtain a reputable UK qualification, from an internationally recognized university, at a cost significantly less than that of studying in the UK. The undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS) degrees were launched in 2009 and BSc degrees in the Biomedical Sciences were launched in 2013. Both programmes offer opportunities for periods of study in the UK.