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NEWS > Emerging Talent Award recipient > Gayatri Saxena (LEH 2003-2011)

Gayatri Saxena (LEH 2003-2011)

Having worked on the frontline fighting COVID-19, Dr Gayatri Saxena used her Award to develop specialist training for medical students whose training had been hit by the pandemic.

I undertook a Medical Education Fellowship Aug 2020-Aug 2021 to develop training programmes for medical students during a turbulent time for everyone, but perhaps especially for those in healthcare.

At various points in the year, I frustratingly found my plans being thrown out of the window due to restrictions on clinical environments, my own redeployment and tackling social distancing in classrooms. There may have been tears.

The Emerging Talent Award enabled me to overcome some of these issues with the use of technology I’d not previously explored. Medical students always report that they most benefit from simulation training because it’s a protected environment to learn how to be a doctor and practice safely.

There’s no substitute for real patient contact but during a period when students were not allowed in hospital, my team and I came up with something a bit more innovative to deliver parts of the curriculum. This project was a new virtual simulation package. It was the most resource-intensive undertaking and would not have been possible without the ETA.

My colleagues and I pre-filmed simulation scenarios in a hospital simulation suite, with planned pauses. During these pauses, we posed clinical questions to students about the next course of action or testing their applied knowledge. Web-based quizzes were utilized in these videos to make them interactive.

We could then show students how their answer progressed the scenario clinically and whether they needed to go back and rethink. We streamed the completed videos over Zoom, in small virtual classrooms, so the simulations played out like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” video game. Ultimately, students decided how to manage the patient and how to interact effectively with colleagues, despite physical distance.

It was a cool project because we were able to inject some much-needed fun into learning at a point when students were as fed up as the rest of the planet and growing ever-anxious about falling behind in learning to be a junior doctor.

The project was well-received, with Imperial College London requesting to incorporate our simulation videos in their standardised simulation package for all their medical students. It felt good at the time but now it’s dawned on us that some fairly embarrassing amateur acting, performed post night-shift, will be replayed for potentially thousands of students…

My work with UK medical schools has propelled me to join the Global Medical Education Collaborative, an education initiative set up to deliver high quality virtual training to medical students of low and middle income countries. I’m excited to deal with the new challenges that I’m sure this will bring, while continuing with a Masters in Clinical Education at King’s College London alongside my Anaesthetic training.

I’m most grateful to LEH for the support I’ve had in the form of this award—it has contributed to my Fellowship projects in a huge way and allowed me to make some novel styles of training become a reality.

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