Med students get a virtual taste of general practice

3 minute read

The VR game for first-years may be a bit too realistic to inspire more of them into the speciality.

A new virtual reality game gives first-year medical students a simulated experience of being in general practice. 

“We spent years developing GP-VR,” Professor Candid told The Medical Republic, “with the aim of broadening our students’ training and really making general practice their first choice of speciality.

“The only problem is, we may have made the experience a bit too lifelike if the responses are anything to go by.”  

“I excitedly put on the goggles,” first-year medical student Emmie Davis told TMR, “and it was a totally new experience. I could choose the location of my practice and I could even alter the shape and layout of my consulting room – I went for an outer-metro practice with a pot plant and a nice vase. 

“But when my first patient of the morning came in she just sat lifelessly in front of me and went on and on about symptoms which made absolutely no sense. I mean I know I’m only a first-year medical student and I’ve got an awful lot to learn, but how can a stabbing pain in your bottom be related to the fact that you’ve just had your hallway painted?

“And I didn’t really care if she got an itchy tongue every time she ate lasagne. I even started wondering if ‘having your hallway painted’ was a euphemism but then she changed tack and started telling me all about her parrot and asked me if her parrot’s anxiety could be the cause of her pain issues. 

“After about 40 minutes she left and I got up to wash my virtual hands in a virtual basin when I caught sight of my reflection. I looked in the mirror and to my horror it was me but an old me, a tired me, a virtual future me, dead behind the eyes!” 

Twenty virtual patients later, including one who took half an hour just to undo the buttons on her cardigan, and Emmie was relieved to pull the goggles off. 

“I was exhausted. If that’s what my future is going to be like I’ll put general practice as my second choice. My first choice is going to be literally anything else. 

“That old, tired face, crinkled and burnt out, as grey as an abandoned parking-lot, and that voice droning on and on about stabby arse pains and lasagne will be with me until my dying day.”

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