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A Gedling man has told how he sometimes dies seven times a day – to help train the doctors of the future.

Clive Hallam is just one of many simulant patient volunteers helping Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) to train medical students.

Along with his wife, Barbara, Clive volunteered after seeing a leaflet in his GP’s surgery in 2007, and role-plays a patient with a variety of ailments.

“I’ve been on Nottingham Forest football pitch with a broken leg,” said Clive. “I’ve also had a ruptured spleen, blood coming out of my ears – sometimes I die seven times a day!”

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Medical students undergo five years of training to become doctors, and learning to speak to and assess patients is a vital part of this. Real patients with real problems are a crucial part of the students’ education, allowing them to practise their skills in a safe environment, and develop their communication, diagnostic, and clinical skills.

The volunteers could pose as transplant patients, or those with complex cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, musculoskeletal disorders, and those with complex surgical histories. They might be interviewed about their medical history, or asked to simulate health issue such as shortness of breath, cardiovascular issues, and trauma.

Clive said: “Not only do I enjoy the challenge of the work but I like the fact that I’m contributing to medical students’ education who are the future of the NHS.

“Our lives could be in the hands of one of these future doctors after they have qualified. They are, without fail, always grateful for our contribution.”

Every year, volunteers, staff and students come together for a thank-you event at the Undergraduate Medical Education Department.

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Nick Kythreotis, medical education manager, said: “We were delighted as a team at NUH to thank our amazing clinical and simulated patients. They make a real difference and a positive contribution to the quality of medical education that we provide for the medical students based at NUH, which in turn helps support and train our future doctors.”

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