What is the Male Teaching Associate (TA) Program?
Participants in Graduate Medicine’s SP Program provide an opportunity for students to practice their physical examination and communication skills in a supervised setting in the Clinical Skills Laboratories. Male TAs is an extension of that program where we recruit and train men from the community to provide teaching and feedback to medical students while undergoing intimate examinations. The program has been successfully running at GM since 2010.
The MTA program provides an opportunity for medical students to practice intimate physical examinations with men in a controlled, safe, educational setting. By receiving immediate feedback from the MTAs, the students can learn the skills required in a sensitive and professional environment.
Male TA sessions are taught when medical students are in Phase 2 of their training.
The MTA Program enables medical students to:
- Gain confidence in both the fine technical skills and the sensitive communication skills required to undertake a genital or rectal examination; and
- Learn to perform genital and rectal examinations in a non-threatening environment with immediate feedback and guidance from an experienced, trained ‘patient’
- Maximise learning via a small group setting and standardised method of instruction
As an extension of the Simulated Patient Program, the status for Teaching Associates at the University is “volunteer”. This means that Teaching Associates can be covered during their time at GM by “UOW’s Voluntary Workers Personal Accident Policy”.
Each session will last up to two hours and participants will receive a gift in appreciation of the high level of contribution to the teaching of our students. This is made in the form of a gift card to a well-established retail group at the relevant rates for training and physical examination sessions.
The intimate examinations include:
- Examination of the groin, penis and scrotum
- Examinations of the groin and pelvic region & lower abdomen to identify any abnormalities including hernias
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) – where the student or doctor uses a gloved finger to examine the rectum and prostate, feeling for enlargement and abnormalities
MTA sessions are usually taught in the 1st half of the year. The MTA recruitment process includes an interview with the Coordinator: Volunteers and an initial examination by a Graduate Medicine doctor. The examination after interview serves a number of purposes: To give the men the experience of what an examination should feel like and familiarise both MTA and doctor with the man’s individual anatomy
- To ascertain the man’s suitability for the program
- To ensure there is no pathology present before taking part in examination sessions with students
Training for Participants
To ensure a quality program, after interview and assessment examination, MTAs must complete a comprehensive training package. This training must be attended before any sessions with students and includes anatomy of the male pelvis, terminology and constructive feedback techniques.
All sessions and training of MTAs will be supervised by Graduate Medicine aligned doctors. Discussion on any potential risks will be covered during the training session e.g. discomfort, tenderness. No medical advice will be given and no treatment given for any condition. If however, any problems are identified during a session, this will be discussed with you in private and appropriate referral will be made.
These sessions will be carried out at both GM campus locations in Wollongong and Shoalhaven. If you are interested in the MTA Program, you will need to complete an Expression of Interest form. For more information and a copy of the form, please speak to either of the Simulated Patient Program Coordinators.