Training Courses in Occupational Health
NeTWoRM - Net-based-Training for Work-Related Medicine
Johan Olander (Johan.Ohlander@med.uni-muenchen.de), Unit for Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology & NetTeaching; Institute for Occupational, Social & Environmental Medicine Clinical Centre, University of Munich
It is well known that teaching of occupational medicine (OM) suffers from the lack of patient wards and, thus, the opportunities of bedside teaching. To improve these evidently imperfect conditions and to enhance the interest of OM among medical students, the international case-based e-learning project NeTWoRM was in 2003 founded by the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology & Net Teaching Unit at the University Hospital of Munich (LMU).
Being a substitute to real patients, NeTWoRM virtual patients introduce students and other professionals of OM to an interactive e-learning environment, in which the user in the role of a health care professional faces fictitious and reality-based scenarios of OM based on a wide range of different professions and workplaces.
As a result of eight years of international project partnership, NeTWoRM has to date generated approximately 90 unique virtual patients in nine different languages with users in Europe, North- and Latin America, India and South Africa. Our partner universities, responsible for the development and dissemination of the virtual patients, are found in Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain (Zaragoza and Badalona). Moreover, four partner universities are situated in Chile, Brazil and Columbia and contribute with virtual patients authored in Spanish and Portuguese. On a regular basis our virtual patients are updated in line with latest scientific standards and reviewed by experts in the field as well as through students’ feedback. The virtual patients can also be adapted to local culture and legislation.
NeTWoRM virtual patients are mainly targeted for the education of pre- and postgraduate medical students, physicians in continuing medical education as well as occupational health nurses, health and safety inspectors, company physicians and secondary school students.
Given this background, it is clear that NeTWoRM supports the agenda of WHO’s Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health (GPA). In particular as NeTWoRM aims at “incorporating workers’ health in the training of primary health care practitioners...[and]…encouraging the establishment of networks of services and professional associations” (GPA objective 3). Moreover, NeTWoRM supports GPA Objective 2, as virtual patients favorably can be used to “protect and promote health at the workplace…[through]…the training of workers and employees”.
More information about NeTWoRM, a list of our virtual patients as well as demo virtual patients for visitors to try out free or charge can be found on our homepage: http://www.networm-online.eu
NeTWoRM virtual patients are distributed on the case-based multimedia learning and author system CASUS®: http://www.casus.eu