Cathy Haigh

Deputy Director of the School of Rural Health Latrobe Valley and West Gippsland, Monash University

Cathy HaighCathy is the coordinator of the Year 4C medical program, which involves providing academic oversight to students completing the penultimate year of the their MBBS, and incorporates year-long placements in General (Family) Practices and rotations through Psychiatry, Paediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynaecology in regional hospitals.

Cathy has recruited and trained real patients to talk to students about the phenomenological experience of living with illness and disability, and to describe the trajectory of disease from diagnosis to recovery or adjustment to changed living circumstances.

Cathy has recruited and trained SPs for training and assessment purposes. In a rural context such a task has provided many opportunities for community engagement, and breaking down the barriers of “town versus gown”. The real and SPs are proud of their role in contributing to medical education and helping to retain graduates to work locally in a relatively underserviced area.

One of Cathy’s research interests is the transition from the simulated to the authentic clinical workplace and how to scaffold learning appropriately as the learner moves from one context across to the other. Simulation has provided the opportunity to describe the challenges in acquiring and maintaining skills so that teaching may be learner and patient centered to achieve best outcomes for all groups.

Recent initiatives include the development of a laparoscopic surgical simulation to support students to learn from their clinical placements, or to consolidate vicarious learning within the authentic clinical workplace. A patient safety program integrating procedural and higher order skills in immersive simulation scenarios is also being developed. The aim of this is to encourage recent graduates to act as “agents of change” to implement and enhance safe practice in the management of patients.

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