The 21st October 2014 saw the University of Birmingham be the first university in the UK to host a Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives™ event for nursing and medical sciences students (MBChB, intercalating, MSc and BMedSci), recently qualified doctors and the staff at the West Midlands Regional Genetics Service. The presentation to nursing students took place in the afternoon and to the medical sciences students in the evening.
The goal of the evening was to increase the knowledge of health professionals, enabling them to recognise the signs, symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer and so detect the disease earlier and treat it more successfully.
This event is a programme owned by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance in the USA which has been brought to the UK by the charity Ovacome.
The programme brought the faces and voices of ovarian cancer survivors in front of students to teach them about women’s experiences with the disease. Survivors are in a unique position to help students become more sensitive to the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer so that when they go into practice they can diagnose women earlier and improve outcomes.
45 people attended the evening, the majority being students and the pre and post event questionnaires showed that the event had been a useful experience. Certainly the audience were attentive and discussion with the ovarian cancer survivors went far over the allotted time.
Professor Sean Kehoe (Lawson Tait Professor of Gynaecological Cancer at the medical school) is a trustee of Ovacome and along with Mrs Sudha Sundar (Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Gynaecological Oncology) thought it would be an excellent way of students experiencing another teaching method.