July 16, 2020 | Perspectives
In many Aquifer cases, students are asked to write out a one to three sentence summary statement that mimics the communication skills they need on rounds, calling consults, and writing patient progress notes. Reviewing a selection of these statements provides an opportunity for faculty to provide meaningful, targeted feedback on clinical reasoning skills.
July 8, 2020 | Perspectives
Medical schools have always worked hard to provide fourth-year students with clinical knowledge. But far less time is dedicated to effective, delicately nuanced conversations about diagnoses and prognoses with patients and their families. This gap isn’t new, but it’s being exacerbated by the pandemic. In response, we created an online elective dedicated entirely to learning, thinking about, and practicing these difficult communication skills.
May 19, 2020 | Perspectives
When the COVID 19 pandemic interrupted our first-year medical students’ longitudinal primary care practicum (PCP), we needed to find an alternative that addressed one of its most important goals: helping students to focus the comprehensive history, exam, and documentation that they’re taught in the clinical skills course into a primary care-appropriate presentation and SOAP note. Our thoughts turned quickly to Aquifer, which is used by our internal medicine and pediatrics clerkships. Many Aquifer cases integrate well with the basic science topics our first-year courses, but most seemed a little too advanced for a mid-first year student. At the same time, senior students were eager to find ways to help, so we decided to combine Aquifer cases with ‘virtual’ peer teaching via videoconference.
April 23, 2020 | Perspectives
Many educators are wondering how to meaningfully engage their students in distance learning activities that create community and allow them to practice important patient care skills (while not seeing patients). While I have been doing peer-to-peer consults with educators around the country about using Aquifer cases in their curriculum, I stumbled into a helpful reframe that seems to be unlocking people’s creativity: Aquifer cases (yep…more than 170 of them!) are virtual standardized patients. Wait…what?