Frequently Asked Questions for Patients

PTA Examination

What does PTA stand for?

PTA   stands for Patient Teaching Associate – patient volunteers who work   with our medical educators as ‘associate teachers’ in the training of   future doctors.

When and where is the PTA program held?

It   is held every Friday afternoon from 1.15pm to 4pm during the semester   in the Clinical Consultation Rooms, Eastern Health Clinical School,   level 1 (ground floor), 5 Arnold St, Box Hill, opposite the new Box Hill   Hospital.

How do I get there?

If   you require assistance with transport and live within a 20km radius of   Box Hill then we can provide taxi vouchers. Free parking is provided in   Spring St.

Am I suitable?

If   you have a personal story to tell, you are living with a chronic   illness and have a genuine interest in helping to educate the doctors of   the future, then you are suitable. You do not need to be an Eastern   Health patient.

What happens in PTA sessions?

The   session is based on a consultation that you might expect if you were   meeting a new doctor at your GP clinic for the first time. It is not   assumed that you have attended with a particular problem needing   attention, more that the student doctors want to get an overall picture   of your health situation at the time.

Three   students will share the role of the doctor – one will start the session   by asking about your health history and your main current health   concerns. This student may ask you about the medications you are   currently taking and when certain events happened. That   student will then handover to another student who will conduct a   physical examination related to your main health problems (e.g., listen   to your chest, take your blood pressure). The third student will then   lead a discussion about management of your health problems.

At   the end of the session there is an opportunity for everyone (PTA, tutor   and fellow students) to give the students some verbal feedback on their   performance. Once the session is finished, the patient and tutor will   be asked to provide written feedback to the students.

What about confidentiality?

Our   students and staff are committed to maintaining your privacy. Your   records and information arising in the session are treated   confidentially and only used for the purpose of the teaching session.

What am I consenting to?

We   require that you sign a consent form stating that you are aware how the   program is run and agree to participate in discussion of your health   and to undergo a relevant non-intimate physical examination. The consent agreement makes it clear that our student and supervising doctors do not offer medical treatment.

What do PTAs do?

The   students are expected to lead the session so they will ask the   questions for you to answer based on your real situation. You do not   need to act, invent anything or tell the whole story in one go – just   answer their questions. You don’t need to lead them on too much; they   need to learn how to ask the right questions. If you ever get asked a   question you do not wish to answer, just say so and they will move on. You   will be asked permission to perform a non-intimate physical exam and   depending on your chronic condition you may have your blood pressure   taken, your chest listened to, eyes and ears checked or your abdomen and   limbs assessed.

Will I need to talk about the medication I am taking?

Yes, the students will ask you about the medications you care currently taking. If you have trouble remembering all your medications then it may be helpful to write them down.

What sort of feedback do I give?

Most   of your feedback to students will be about how and what they said and   how it made you feel during the session. Don’t be shy about saying what   you think went well and what didn’t go so well from your point of view   as the patient. Our students really value your honest feedback; it is   the way they learn ways to improve.

Do the feedback comments in PTA contribute towards the students’ final marks?

No, all feedback provided in PTA is formative (i.e., it does not contribute to the students’ final marks).

How many students do I see each visit?

There   will be three students in each consultation accompanied by a qualified   doctor (clinical tutor). Two consultations will be held on one Friday   afternoon (i.e., you will see a maximum of six students on a Friday).

How long does the session go for?

We ask volunteers to attend between 1:15pm and 4:00pm.  During this time patients see two groups of students with a break for afternoon tea.

How many PTAs are needed on a day?

Four PTAs are required each Friday afternoon.

How often do you need to volunteer?

It is up to you, but no more than three times a semester. Ideally we would like our students not to see the same patient twice.

What do I need to wear?

Wear something comfortable and with a top layer that is easy to remove to allow physical examination.

Can I get a second opinion from the students about my condition?

No, our students and clinical tutors do not offer you medical advice or treatment.

How do I get involved?

If   you are interested in participating or obtaining further information   then please contact the PTA program coordinator.P: (03) 9091 8821; E:pta.ehcs@monash.edu