What is the Patient Teaching Associate Program?

PTA student and tutor

The Patient Teaching Associate (PTA) program is an innovative education model designed to assist the development of patient-centred clinical skills in students. It provides third year medical students with opportunities to be exposed to, and to learn from, volunteer patients living with chronic conditions. The program is held on a Friday afternoon in a general practice setting.

During the consultation, students have the opportunity to practice either history-taking, clinical examination, or reviewing a management plan with the patient, under the supervision of a clinical tutor. Typically one student is allocated to each role (history, examination, management) during the consultation.

At the end of each consultation, students are given oral feedback on their task performance and patient-centredness by the patient, followed by self-reflection and feedback from peers and the clinical tutor. Patients and tutors also complete a brief written feedback form.

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