This outstanding program sends a team of three ovarian cancer survivors in to talk with medical and nursing students about their own experiences with symptoms before they were diagnosed. As we know, OC symptoms are often vague and easily attributed to other benign illness like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or worse, our symptoms were ignored. Our stories serve as powerful reminders for these students as they enter their careers.
Diane Riche is the New England Coordinator for STS. She kindly sent me a detailed guide to how the program is structured. I am including it below for those of you who are interested in joining one of the teams near you - or starting a team of your own! Information is also available from the OCRA website. Feel free to contact me or Diane for further info.
- Each presentation should last one hour, and follow the schedule below:
- Introduction—five minutes (On-site Facilitator—see description below)
- Administer and Collect Pre-Evaluations—five minutes
- Presenter #1—seven minutes
- Presenter #2—seven minutes
- Presenter #3—seven minutes
- Question and Answers—15-20 minutes (Note: This is flexible and may last longer depending on time.)
- Closing—five minutes (On-Site Facilitator)
- Distribute Handouts and Administer Post-Evaluations—five minutes
- The presentation typically includes three presenters—one of whom may also serve as the facilitator—who are ovarian cancer survivors. Ideally, presenters should be women with different backgrounds and experiences. In many cases, the women who present will have been diagnosed at a late stage, but it is valuable to include women diagnosed at an early stage as well.
- The facilitator will begin the presentation with a brief introduction. Next, each presenter tells her story, illustrating the difficulty of early diagnosis and what happened to her as a result. The survivor’s story puts a face and voice to the disease, which is a powerful tool in increasing students’ understanding and recall of the facts about ovarian cancer.
- Students should gain insights into listening to patient concerns and become sensitized to the psychosocial aspects of ovarian cancer, as well as the need for early detection.
- After the presentation, the facilitator will open a dialogue between the presenters and students to enable direct and substantive interaction.
- Students are also given a brief pre and post evaluation to assess their understanding of the disease and the value of the presentation (see: Appendix).
- The STS presentation is offered free of charge to health professional schools.