Accepted paper:

Getting a feel for movement: The role of simulation in training medical students to move


Andrea Wojcik (Maastricht University )

Paper short abstract:

Moving the body is something many do unconsciously. Medical students, however, (re)learn to move their bodies in relation to patients. In this paper, I explore the role of simulation in training medical students how to move and find that training movement is intimately related to training touch.

Paper long abstract:

Moving the body through space is something many do unconsciously; it is often an unarticulated or embodied experience. Medical students, however, (re)learn movement as a skill to be performed in relation to patients for the purpose of physical examination. I draw on seven months of ethnographic fieldwork, including participant observation and interviews, within the medical programme at the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Ghana to explore how medical students and their educators train movement. At the UDS, students begin learning physical examination skills during their first year of medical school. They do so mostly in a classroom setting throughout the first three years of their education. Instead of working with patients, students and teachers often rely on simulations during this time. Sometimes such simulations are improvised—an educator stacks two fists on top of each other to model the knee. At other times, they are quite routine—students practice physical examination skills on each other under their educators' supervision. The routine simulations literally allow students to move and be moved, while the improvised simulations often illustrate the consequences of a doctor's movement for the patient's body. Both types, however, attempt to convey a "feel for movement" to students, making it evident that a doctor's movement is intimately related to his or her touch.

panel P069
Movement, stasis and interoception: unsettling the body [Medical Anthropology Network]