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Patient-related skills + patient contacts

Last updated on 22 September 2021

During the study of medicine you learn skills such as performing physical examinations in all years of study. You do this with and on fellow students, simulation patients and sometimes with practical teachers. You yourself are therefore also a regular test subject for your fellow students.

As when dealing with real patients, it is very important in these trainings that you behave like a professional doctor should. To help you with this, we have made an overview of agreements about how we treat each other. More background information can be found in the appendix: 

Patient-related skills and patient contacts Medicine Faculty of Medicine VU: Rules and Guidelines for students and teachers

Naturally, the statutory rules with regard to patient-related procedures and patient contacts also apply, see the Individual Healthcare Professions Act (BIG) and the Medical Treatment Contracts Act (WGBO).

Patient-related skills and patient contacts

  • What is meant by patient-related skills and patient contacts?

    As a student you will learn skills such as conducting a physical examination during your medical studies. These skills are trained in all academic years. Before you start working with real patients, you practice the skills with and on fellow students, simulation patients and for a number of studies on specifically trained practical teachers. You yourself are therefore also a regular test subject for your fellow students. These training courses give you the opportunity to properly learn patient-related skills.

    In the role of doctor you work on your professional attitude towards patients, in the role of test subject you experience what it is like to be a patient. For example: what is it like to have a conversation with a doctor, undergo a certain examination and how does the doctor's behavior appear to you. You will give each other feedback. Some examples of skills that you practice with your fellow students are: measuring blood pressure, listening to the heart and lungs and testing reflexes. The simulation patients and the practical teachers were specially trained by Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. They clearly indicate how a conversation or an investigation comes across to them. For example, in addition to feedback from the supervising teacher, you will receive feedback from an almost real patient. The practice teacher provides feedback as a teacher and as a patient 

  • When do you have your first patient contact?

    Education with real patients takes place during the practical internships in the bachelor's program and in the master's program. You will have your first practical internship at the end of bachelor year 1. In the master's program, education with real patients takes place in almost every internship. You may only engage in real patient contacts (anamnesis and physical examination) if after careful practice, you have acquired a certain level of competence in both sexes. 

  • Why are there special rules and guidelines for this?

    As a student and aspiring doctor you behave professionally in dealing with others. Professional behavior is central during your medicine training at Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, has drawn up specific rules and guidelines with regard to patient-related skills and patient contacts.

    In addition to these specific rules and guidelines, the general rules of conduct and decency also apply. Unwanted behavior (intimidation, aggression and violence, bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination) is not tolerated at VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. 

  • Summary of the most important rules and guidelines.
    • You adhere to the confidentiality obligation that applies to doctors from the start of the training. This duty of confidentiality concerns both patients and fellow students.
    • You will be informed well in advance of the nature and location of all courses in which students practice on each other or come into contact with patients and of the rules and guidelines that apply.
    • You are obliged to (also) assume the role of the patient in practice situations. This is important for your training as a doctor, and you can only actively practice yourself if other students offer the opportunity to do so.
    • The mutual practice of physical examination - in the broadest sense of the word (including first aid and physiology) - with both men and women is mandatory for all medical students. An exception to this is internal examination of men and women. Students never practice this research on each other. Alternatives are offered for practicing these components within the physical examination. It is mandatory for all students to practice genital testing through these alternatives. NB: The breast examination is practiced with each other in the master's phase.
    • You may only engage in real patient contacts (anamnesis and physical examination) if after careful practice, you have acquired a certain level of competence in both sexes.
    • If dress codes apply to parts (internships) during the training, these will be announced well in advance. The department or institution where you follow the course is responsible for these regulations and for making them known in time. If these regulations cause problems for you, you must discuss this yourself with the relevant internship supervisor.
    • For parts of the training where you have direct or indirect patient contact, you behave professionally and functionally. You ensure that you do not stand out in a negative way. You are in optimal physical and mental condition, have optimal hygiene, ensure that the patient does not have any unnecessary burden or discomfort because of you, ensure that there is no avoidable obstruction or disruption of patient contact, you do not give offense to others and you have optimal attention for the patient.
    • If you feel personal obstacles when undergoing a physical examination, you must indicate this well in advance to a specially authorized doctor, who can be consulted via the patient-related skills and patient contacts hotline. This reporting point is intended to identify and, if necessary, mediate in the event of problems regarding the requirements set for students. If you have a problem, you can write to this reporting center. The principle here is: all educational components are compulsory for everyone, unless you have realistic arguments that are supported by the authorized doctor.

      Note: Where patient is stated in the text, it also refers to test subjects or simulated patients. 
  • Where can you go with questions / bottlenecks about this subject?

    The reporting center for patient-related skills and patient contacts is intended to identify and, if necessary, mediate in the event of problems regarding the requirements set (for example in the field of clothing and appearance or objection to undergoing a physical examination). If you have a problem, you can write to this reporting center. The principle here is: all educational components are compulsory for everyone, unless you have realistic arguments that are supported by the authorized doctor. This doctor can be reached via the hotline below. Keep in mind that the entire procedure can take several weeks.

    Do not forget to include your return address. Your mail will of course be treated confidentially!

    Reporting point patient-related skills and patient contacts, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc
    p / a secretariat master
    VUmc KTC 5-04
    Box 7057
    1007 MB Amsterdam 

Contact

Student Service Centre - Faculty of Medicine VU

The student desk will help you. Call us on +31 20 59 85020 (available Monday – Friday: 10.30 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 16.00).

Do you have any questions? Please send them to studentdesk@vu.nl.