Clinical Assistants – Women’s Health Doctor of Medicine students stepping up

As the COVID-19 wave peaked at the end of last year, putting pressure on our health services, the Mercy Hospital for Women called upon its Women’s Health MD students to step in and assist with various ad hoc duties to relieve pressure on the hospital staff.

Two clinicians reading a patient's record outside a ward in a hospital.

Pictured: MD students at Mercy Health updating patient records. Image courtesy of Mercy Health

Their various tasks and duties included:

  • Assisting the COVID-19 Maternal Fetal Medicine surveillance team, including making calls to pregnant women with COVID-19 being managed in the community, updating patient records, drafting discharge summaries, updating data entry, liaising with other health professionals, and attending multidisciplinary meetings as required
  • Assisting in clinical areas including the Emergency Department, Special Care Nursery, Antenatal Clinics, Inpatient areas
  • Assisting the clinical team including scribing, documentation of progress, chasing external pathology and imaging results, and with examinations
  • Conducting basic observations on patients in the waiting room such as blood pressure measurements and escalating as appropriate
  • Developing and refining written information for patients and data monitoring for clinicians to assist with patient education and clinical handover as needed
  • Screening of referrals to the Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) service including ward referrals/outpatient referrals and collating screening information as directed by the head of the PMH service.

The students’ contributions are immeasurable and truly appreciated by the health service. All the students involved were very caring and considerate, which carried over to their patient care and collaborative approach in working in a team. The students treated all patients, their families and staff with the utmost respect and kindness. They upheld the core values of our faculty and the Mercy Hospital for Women, and ensured that the patient was at the centre of their decision-making and actions. The patients responded very positively to our students, and we only ever heard praise from the patients and colleagues when they discussed their interactions with our medical students.

The Mercy Hospital for Women would like to thank Lana, Xin, Jessica, Elodie, Zac, Jack, Indi, Sophie, and Evelyn for all their assistance!