Students decide: you have the technology
16 November 2012
Are you the type of person who goes to bed with their iPad by their pillow? Or do you believe in all things in moderation — even your technical fix? Read selected views from the latest Students Decide survey
Do you think you are taught enough about technology and its uses in medicine?
Yes: ‘Technology is fully integrated into our very forward-thinking course. From our fourth year, all students are issued with the latest generation of iPhones, which we use to complete workplace-based assessments and to gather multi-source feedback from clinicians throughout specialty placements.
‘The phones are also pre-loaded with a suite of apps that are indispensable on the wards, including the BNF (British National Formulary), the BNF for Children and the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine.’
Leeds final year Jonathan Batty
Yes: ‘I often use technology to aid my studies. All of our lectures are posted online, and this is very useful for self-study tasks. We also use online forums as a way of contacting lecturers and other students, which is an easy and quick way of getting an answer to any questions about the course material.’
Glasgow second year Isobel Brookes
Don’t know: ‘I find the Dr Companion app very helpful. Our medical school provides us with access to a number of books, including the BNF and Oxford Handbooks. I find this very useful to look up things quickly on the wards or in clinics.’
Brighton and Sussex fourth year Felice Cartz
Yes: ‘There are zillions of medical apps and games that are often quite helpful. But students can find these for themselves. We don’t need a lecture on them.’
UCL (University College London) second year Paul Morillon
No: ‘More and more students in my year group seem to have iPhones, which they use during clinical placements to find answers to questions, or to work things out using apps. I am sure this is very convenient, but I have never felt that I am missing out by not having one. I think having the answers so easily available could hinder the ability to think outside the box.
‘In emergency situations, there will not always be time to check your iPhone.’
Peninsula fourth year Nicole Needham
No: ‘Healthcare is changing rapidly; the way we source information and interact with patients is likely to become dramatically different. Understanding this is important to keep medical training relevant.’
St George’s University of London third year Benjamin Rusholme
No: ‘I believe it is important that we are formally taught about the use of technology in clinical medicine, not only in regards to surgical techniques but also in a broader sense via social media. So much collaboration, learning and engagement occurs online, and to be absent from this environment is discounting valuable opportunities for aspiring doctors. Well-managed technology is a cornerstone of our relationships with colleagues and patients.’
King’s College London third year Rajiv Sethi
Yes: ‘Manchester has just equipped clinical students with iPads, and it will be interesting to see if this becomes a medical school norm. Will we have iPad-compatible ultrasound scanners around our necks in 10 years?’
Manchester fourth year Rohan Shotton
No: ‘I think mobile phones have the potential to be very useful in terms of education and practice. There are lots of really good applications. It would be useful to have some independent guidance on which are reliable and how to use them. However I have some concerns about the potential financial burden it could place on students.’
Sheffield fourth year Anna Watkinson-Powell
Yes: ‘I received a free iPad2 from the university, and do all my notes on it. Useful, yes. Essential, no.’
Manchester fourth year Mustafa Yusuf
Do you think computer games are a good way of developing some surgical skills?
Don’t know: ‘Advances in medical technology have led to huge improvements in the management of various conditions. Nevertheless, the value of traditional care should not be underestimated.’
UCL fourth year Alisha Allana
Don’t know: ‘The evidence is very sketchy. Some computer games require you to use hand-eye coordination, but I am doubtful whether that can easily be transferred to surgical skills. As diagnostic and surgical techniques begin to use more technology, I think it will start to become a pressing issue in the field of medical education.’
Belfast third year Nathan Cantley
Yes: ‘I think surgery involving more technology could hugely benefit patients. Technology has its benefits, but I am unsure if it is economical to favour it over traditional methods.’
Glasgow final year Steven Linnen
No: ‘Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer to use a textbook. While some skills could be gained from computer games, actual surgical techniques should be learned by practice on models with real equipment and eventually in the operating theatre.’
Sheffield fourth year William Sapwell
Yes: ‘Technological advances drive medical practice forwards, but the doctor must continue to function effectively in the absence of these aids. The preservation of clinical reasoning is essential.’
King’s College London fourth year Ben Williamson
Yes: ‘One should always ensure that the practical skills of examination are not lost. When machines fail, these are often required.’
Edinburgh third year Andrew Wilson
Have you ever suffered from, or been involved in treating, a technology-related injury?
Yes: ‘Excessive use of laptops for essay work can cause repetitive strain injury in the elbows and eye strain.’
Leeds fourth year Rebecca Briscoe
Yes: ‘I have suffered from Facebook addiction disorder; it was a difficult time but I pulled through. I use the internet a lot when it comes to medicine. The best app? The BNF app is amazing.
‘Medicine wouldn’t be where it is at, if it wasn’t for technology. Sometimes we take for granted and don’t appreciate it.’
Manchester final year Zahira Karim