We recently visited Debbie Thackray, one of our project partners in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton. Debbie is a lecturer in Physiotherapy, specializing in auscultation (listening to the body via stethoscope) and simulation-based learning. During our visit we observed and spoke with her students as they undertook training with a dummy manikin patient. Students were led through a detailed ‘real life’ scenario of care. From an initial phone call describing a patient’s situation they discussed key areas and suggested a hypothesis before moving into practical medical analysis where they performed on a manikin body, in a ward style setting. This process involved listening to the patient’s chest via simscope technology as well as continual peer-to-peer feedback before finally recommending treatment through group discussion.
We spoke to students about their relationship to the stethoscope, not only as a diagnostic instrument but as a symbol of professional listening. Students discussed the challenges of listening to patient lung sounds in noisy hospital environments and shared thoughts on the scenario of simulation itself as a preparatory stage of learning. Recordings and reflections from the visit are forming part of the development of our podcast series. Furthermore, the visit is inspiring us to build a new public event that will explore the cross-disciplinary potential of auscultation technologies and methods.