Parkinson’s WA were delighted to be included in the Curtin University Medical School planning for 2023, introducing keen and budding doctors in training to the many aspects of Parkinson’s care. Commencing in July, the ‘first of its kind’ program involved two rotations of third year Medical Students, who were placed with the metropolitan Parkinson’s Nursing Team, based out of The Niche, at the QEII Medical Centre in Nedlands.
Pictured: Parkinson's WA CEO Adj Prof Yasmin Naglazas, Sophie and Clinical Nurse Manager Janet McLeod, OAM
The students attended visits with their preceptors and enjoyed learning about Parkinson’s, directly from the person with the condition. Having the opportunity to do home visiting was an added bonus that many medical students do not experience. Clinical Nurse Manager, Janet McLeod OAM, said she enjoyed having Student Sophie as a buddy for five weeks and was looking forward to the next rotation.
“Thank you to all our members who have agreed to have the students present during your nursing consultations,” she said.
“This program is in addition to the Parkinson’s education initiatives provided to Curtin Medical students when they are placed with their various healthcare locations.”
Sophie said she was delighted to be included in the program and found it interesting and eye-opening to learn about the different degrees of Parkinson’s that people have.
“Before, I thought it was one just one clinical picture encompassing the neurological condition,” she said.
“Following the experiences from the program and being exposed to many people with Parkinson’s and the teams that look after them, I know there’s a big range of symptoms that people have which has really helped me a lot with my future learning and possible career pathways.”
Pictured: Curtin University Medical Student Sophie and Janet McLeod, OAM speak about Parkinson's care.
In addition to Sophie’s placement, Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist Rachel Marshall was concurrently working with her Medical Student Clara on one of her recent visits to the Parkinson’s WA office at The Niche, Nedlands.
Rachel said she was hopeful that the Medical Students will incorporate the Specialist Parkinson’s knowledge and experience into their medical practice in the future.
“The benefits of the Medical students witnessing specialist Parkinson's care are profound and significant,” she said.
“Not only will it highlight the importance of early recognition of symptoms and referral to a Medical Specialist and the wider multidisciplinary team, it also gives the students a different perspective of how Parkinson’s impacts on the person and the family within the context of their life in the home, workplace and the wider community.”
Pictured: Rachel and her student Clara work together during a meeting
Clara said she was grateful for the opportunity to further diversify her areas of studies in the field of medicine, and learning about Parkinson’s care had been a unique and engaging opportunity.
“The experience has been invaluable in helping me extend my knowledge on Parkinson’s, beyond the textbooks. Meeting and conversing with an array of patients, who are at different stages of progression has allowed me to see the various ways in which Parkinson’s may present,” she said.
“The nurses at Parkinson’s WA have also shown me the importance of considering every aspect in the patient’s life to cater to each patient’s individual needs. I’m grateful for the experience and it has undoubtedly sparked my interest in Neurology!”
Pictured: Parkinson's Nurse Specialist Rachel and her student Clara.
Parkinson’s WA CEO, Adj Professor Yasmin Naglazas said she was delighted that Parkinson’s WA could host this inaugural program.
“It has been in our best interest to safeguard the future of Specialist Parkinson’s care, and this program is a resounding opportunity to activate the medical community and ensure that best practice is carried out across all fields of medicine and nursing. The opportunity to shadow our Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists, is one we have taken immense pride in being a part of,” she said.
Find out more about our Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist service here.
Words and photos by Jacqui O'Leary