Teaming up with the University of Oxford Medical School

Teaming up with the University of Oxford Medical School

We are so passionate about raising CES awareness for healthcare professionals across the UK. Back in 2020 we teamed up with The University of Oxford Medical School. We held a session for medical students to hear patient stories and to raise awareness of red flag symptoms.

We’ve received some feedback from Dr Neil Dawson who is the Emergency Medicine Consultant for Oxford University Hospitals. See what he had to say about teaming up with our charity back in 2020:

”Cauda Equina Champions Charity linked up with the University of Oxford in 2020 to provide learning resources and interactive sessions for Year 5 medical students. This is part of the student rotation in Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, Trauma and Emergency Medicine(ORTEM). The medical school promotes Patient and Public Involvement as part of clinical teaching to students.

As the Co-director of the ORTEM rotation, I am delighted with the involvement of the Charity. As a theme, Cauda Equina Syndrome has cross over between Emergency Medicine and Orthopaedics. The session pulls knowledge from between these specialties, helping students understand the interplay between different services. The Cauda Equina session is also the only one in the rotation to feature patients telling their own story.

The video presentation recounts the personal stories of 2 patients with cauda equina syndrome in their own words. It goes on to summarize what the condition is and how it is treated. There is also a refresher of the red flags that should alert a doctor to this potential diagnosis, and the time-critical need for early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment to improve outcomes. The video presentation is used as a basis for a subsequent live “Question and Answer” online discussion with one of both of the patients in the video. The video is also accessible at any time through the University Canvas platform, so students can watch the presentation again prior to sitting their exams.

Student feedback highlights the importance and need for the Cauda Equina Champions involvement:

“Inspired to make sure I always know the red flags for cauda equina!”

“Definitely interactive and it was good to hear that personal experience and be able to get the opinions of someone who had been through the process”

“There is usually a more emotive element to things when we meet real patients.

The cauda equina session was very useful, and a refreshing perspective to hear from a patient.”

“The session was really valuable in providing a patient perspective on the hospital experience – having their worries played down by staff, being sent home without a formal diagnosis, and having jargon thrown at them. It also highlighted the symptoms and signs of CES in a very personal way – I don’t think I’ll be forgetting the red flag signs or presenting symptoms after this”

“Very moving stories and a good reminder of the human cost of these issues and how important it is to remain vigilant great session Very helpful session and really glad we were able to hear more about this serious condition. It has definitely changed the way I will approach back pain as a presentation”

“I think that hearing from patients is a really important part of our learning and while we can get this a lot in the clinical environment, not every patient wants to be a spokesperson for a debilitating condition and the hospital isn’t always the right time to have these bigger conversations, especially if they are just receiving the diagnosis then. I found the session helped to contextualise CES and will definitely inform my future practice”

Thank you Dr Neil Dawson, we are delighted that our session benefited your medical students.