Kids play patients at Mini Docs

(Edmonton) Thirty-six children between six and 12 years old visited the University of Alberta for the first ever Mini Docs Camp.

The camp is an incentive for parents and children to volunteer to be patients for second-year medical students who need to practise taking a medical history and performing a physical exam with pediatric patients.

Jo-Ann Paul, educational resources co-ordinator, tried asking friends who couldn’t commit, mainly because children have to come in during school hours. That’s when she turned to a home-schooling network.

“Finally I found someone but they said, ‘What’s in it for me?’” said Paul. “That’s where the idea started... I surveyed a bunch of people from the network: What would they like to see? What would be worth their while? From there we ended up building this idea of a camp in return for volunteers.”

Prior to this, medical students had to go on to the wards, where they often could only observe their preceptors perform a physical exam on patients, because often the patients are too sick.

“A preceptor once told me that a child is not just a little adult,” said Reji Thomas, a second-year medical student and camp co-ordinator. “Their findings in a physical exam in normal are totally different and that pediatric interaction is invaluable to our education.”