Healthcare workers’ frequently asked questions

Here are answers to few FAQs. If you want to talk to a friendly human, contact admin@imamedic.uk or call 01225 326 892.


What kind of questions will I get?

It can be absolutely anything – moderators will take out clearly nonsensical, or gratuitously rude questions, but that leaves a big field!

DO NOT feel you need to be up all night on Google to answer questions way out of your area. Although remember, you’ll know more than most of the students. Answer what you feel you can, but it’s fine to say you don’t know. You can suggest who they should ask, or how they could try to find out. It’s also fine to say if you had a look for the answer – “I was interested by this too, so I had a quick look. Wikipedia tells me that x” etc.

Occasionally you might be asked questions related to a student’s personal health or that of a family member, so we have additional advice for answering personal health questions.

A cautionary tale. A few years ago in our sister project, I’m a Scientist, two scientists ignored our advice to say ‘I don’t know’, Googled the answer to one question, found the same spoof site, didn’t realise the information was nonsense and repeated it in their answers. We think they must have been rushing, because it was pretty obviously nonsense if you thought about it. We hope we don’t have to say this, but use your critical faculties if you’re going outside your area and want to avoid looking silly.

We also understand that you are upholding the standards of your profession, and that there will be some questions that you can’t answer, perhaps because they are too detailed, too personal or too much like giving a full diagnosis. It is absolutely fine to either not answer the question at all, or answer it with the reason why.  If you’re concerned about a question feel free to ask michaela@mangorol.la for help.

There’s some guidance on using social media from the GMC here: www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/30173.asp

What do I do about problem questions, or ones I’m worried about?

There’s some examples below, with our advice, but if in doubt ask us, it’s what we’re here for!

‘Are you gay?’

This is quite a common question. Sometimes, understandably, the student is just trying to be cheeky. But they could be a young person struggling with their identity and trying to start a conversation with a non-threatening adult about it. Because we’ve no way of knowing the difference, we will always approve this question at least once.
We recommend you’re as honest as you feel comfortable with in your answer. And bear in mind that whatever the motivation of the original questioner, there will certainly be gay teens who read your answer.

Questions about sex and relationships

If the question is relatively scientific, then answer as you would on any other topic – sex isn’t something to be ashamed of.

We won’t approve personal question which are inappropriately intrusive, but you may get things like, ‘Do you remember your first kiss?’, or, ‘Do you believe in love at first sight?’

It’s possible, but extremely unlikely, you’ll get more personal questions where students are asking for your advice about their own lives. If you do, answer in a friendly, reassuring way, but remember you are not a trained sex and relationships educator. It’s probably a good idea to refer them to accessible but reliable information (Bish’s website is a good source) and if appropriate, suggest they speak to a trusted adult or their own doctor.

Bullying

It’s very rare, but we occasionally get questions about bullying. Refer students to accessible but reliable information (we recommend Bullying UK) and suggest they speak to a trusted adult, if appropriate. If there seems reason for concern we will alert the teacher.

Personal health

Occasionally you might be asked questions related to a student’s personal health or that of a family member, so we have additional advice for answering personal health questions.

What’s your moderation policy for questions?

All questions are moderated before they are sent to you, in order to strike a balance between making your lives easier as participants and giving students the chance to ask real questions.

Moderators:

Merge (deduplicate) very similar questions, but allow some questions which might appear similar, but make slightly different points.

Remove rude or offensive questions, but allow challenging and irreverent questions.

Allow questions which may be unclear – you can start dialogues with students to clarify them.

Will not correct the spelling, grammar or punctuation of any students questions.

Time commitment

During the event participants typically spend about an hour a day taking part, for the fifteen weekdays that the event is on. This will vary according to how busy your zone is and how much detail you go into with your answers. Some people have been known to spend a lot more, but that’s not compulsory!

As long as you have access to the internet and some free time you can take part from anywhere.

You can answer the questions on the site whenever is convenient for you, the only time you need to be aware of are live chats; which run through the UK school day (8.30am – 4pm).

What is taking part as a team like?

This means doing I’m a Medic with a group of colleagues, i.e. Team Derby A&E. You can represent a variety of roles or all be in the same job. This is the perfect way to share the time commitment over the 3 weeks, allowing you all to pitch in to answer the ASK questions quickly and be represented in chat sessions as often as possible.

  • All team members use the same login (e.g. teamderby) but you write about yourselves individually on your profile page (We recommend using something like google docs to write the profile out together before editing it on the site)
  • One person’s email is used for notifications of ASK questions and chat bookings. (We recommend this person sets up an autoforward to everyone else’s email to speed things up)
  • When answering ASK questions, start your answer with your name, e.g. ‘Susan says: I wanted to be a nurse since I was 9…
  • Whoever is free for each chat signs up mentioning their name so the students know who to expect e.g.’Susan can make this chat!’

Live chats

The live chat calendar is here.

A few minutes before the chat booking you should go to the CHAT page in your zone and the chatroom will open.

Live chats are text only, a bit like Whatsapp or Facebook. You don’t need any special software or anything, just your computer and access to the internet.

Schools will sometimes take a few minutes to turn up, as the teacher is briefing the students, handing out cards, etc. Occasionally the school will not show up at all. Usually this is an IT issue. We’ll try not to make you wait around, if it looks like a class are going to be a no show, we’ll let you get on.

Chats are are booked by the teacher, to coincide with their lesson, so the time is fixed, but we don’t expect all the participants to make each one as we know you all have other commitments. We do explain this to teachers and students. As long as a couple of people attend each chat the students will get a lot out of it.

Although, be warned, students are most likely to vote for people they have chatted to. It’s our semi-scientific opinion that this is the biggest factor in determining who students vote for (based on student survey responses and ethnographic observation in classrooms). Maybe you think it’s the taking part and not the winning that counts, but you might change your mind when students start voting :-).

Do I need to do any IT checks?

No, not really. The site’s very simple. It uses HTML and some JavaScript. We may use Java to run the chat page, but no Flash and no plug ins.

It uses cookies.

It has been tested on all major browsers (even, shudder, IE6) and should be fine on machines running Windows, MacOS or Linux.

If you can access the site, edit your profile and answer questions then everything is working fine.

If you can, come to one of the drop in chat sessions to say hi, and just check that you can use the live chat. Rarely a corporate firewall or similar may block the live chats. This is more common with school firewalls, and far less common since we got better live chat technology. But best to find out in advance of the first chat booking!

What do I need to know about the £500 prize money?

What is the money for?

The £500 is to be spent on a public engagement project. You should use it to engage school students with careers in the NHS.

Check out how past I’m a Scientist winners have spent the money at: about.imascientist.org.uk/category/prize-winner.

Please don’t use the money to purchase equipment, or fund travel to an academic conference; it must be spent communicating with the public.

There is also a distinction to be made between engagement and education. For example, the money should not be donated to a school to purchase equipment. If you’d like to give the money to a local school, you could go into the school to run a workshop showing the students how to use the new equipment, and how what they’re doing relates to careers in the NHS, and the world around them. The aim of your project should be to engage with students or the public, not simply educate them.

How do I tell I’m a Medic how I’ve spent the money?

Every year, across all the I’m a… Projects we give out tens of thousands of pounds in these small engagement grants; we need to be able to account for the money, and tell our funders where it’s going.

Keep in touch, let us know how your plans for the money are coming!

Once you’ve spent it, write us a brief report for us to post on our blog to update the students on how you’ve spent your winnings. A good report might include an idea of how and why you chose your project, how the money helped or made it possible, and what the outcome was. Did you learn anything? Who was your audience? Do you think the project was a success? Has it inspired ideas for future engagement?

(Examples from the I’m a Scientist blog: about.imascientist.org.uk/category/prize-winner)

Please also include a basic breakdown of how you spent the money, such as:

  • £200 Buying video equipment
  • £50 Travel expenses
  • £250 Editing the video

Please email your updates and reports to Antony (antony@mangorol.la).

When do I have to spend the money?

You should aim to spend the money within a year of winning. After 6 months we’d like to have a firm plan of how you’ll be spending it.

How do I keep in contact/Get in touch?

During an event – the best way to contact us is in the staffroom. There will always be a moderator or two in there chatting and updating teachers and participants about system issues or live chat changes.

Obviously email is also good — if you have a bit more to say, or if it is private. Take a look at the contact page.

We strongly recommend Twitter as a way to keep in touch with us, and with your fellow contestants. There is always a lot of online camaraderie with participants giving each other tips, sharing fears and joking around. The I’m a Medic team will also be passing on the latest event news and so on.

Do bear in mind though that Twitter is a public medium and students taking part in the event may read what you say.

The I’m a Medic Twitter feed

Please get in touch if you’ve got any questions not covered here, or you need help with anything. You can do this on twitter, to @imamedic_uk, by email on admin@imamedic.uk, or on 01225 326 892. We’re here to help!