Members of the Canberra community who are living with Parkinson’s disease recently joined second year students and clinical tutors at the Medical School Canberra Hospital campus for a teaching session related to Parkinson’s disease. The session is an opportunity for students and their tutors to meet and listen to community volunteers who are living with Parkinson’s disease share their medical and personal histories. The students are able to work closely with a patient in the classroom and develop their understanding of Parkinson’s disease and the impact it can have on a person’s life.
Volunteer Ms Dot Thompson who participated this year said “It was a wonderful and energising experience for me. I had not had the opportunity to tell my whole story of diagnosis and life experiences with Parkinson’s disease. The students asked gentle and insightful questions that put me at ease. Dr Chris gave names and explanations that I had not heard before and my dear friend, Ruth, helped me relax."
Many of the volunteers who join the annual session are members of the local area support group, Parkinson’s ACT Inc. Parkinson’s ACT Inc established an annual award to support ANU medical students gain first-hand experience working with patients with Parkinson's disease. Valued at $1200, it assists a student with a special interest in the diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s disease to undertake an elective placement in the final year of their medical degree at a centre of excellence, either in Australia or abroad. A Medical School student is going to use this award to help fund their planned 4-week Elective Term at the Montreal Neurological Hospital, Canada in 2015.
Photo: Ms Dot Thompson and Ms Ruth Williams with students