The Pelvic Model Program is part of the Early Clinical Experience Training for second-year medical students at VCOM. This program allows each student to perform a speculum exam and a bi-manual exam on a simulated patient, which is the Pelvic Teaching Associate (PTA).
A PTA is a woman who contributes to the education of medical students who are studying to become clinical practitioners. The PTA allows the student to learn how to perform a pelvic examination with a faculty preceptor in attendance.
The role of the PTA is to be examined by the medical students in a protected, professional setting that is supervised by a physician. This is an opportunity to participate in the educational process of medical students who are learning to perform pelvic examinations. The PTA and the supervising physician provide guidance and feedback to each student.
The Pelvic Model Program takes place on the VCOM Campus. You must be at least 18 years of age to participate. You will be required to attend an orientation prior to the beginning of the program that will allow you to learn more information about the program and what it will entail.
Please read the Pre-Decision Information and Questions to Ask Yourself below. If you have any questions before completing the application, please contact Danielle Denney, the Administrative Assistant for OB/GYN on the Virginia Campus by phone at 540-231-0378 or by email at ddenney [at] vcom.vt.edu.
Please use this information in order to decide if you want to be a Pelvic Teaching Associate.
The role of a Pelvic Teaching Associate can be rewarding yet challenging. It is an opportunity to participate in the educational process of medical students who are learning to perform a pelvic examination. It is also a service to students and faculty as well as the individuals who will be examined by them in the future. While some may consider this role personally challenging, it is an opportunity to positively impact the interactions of future physicians and their female patients.
As a Pelvic Teaching Associate, you are normally scheduled for 5 exams. For the examination, you will be expected to remove your clothes from the waist down and wear a hospital gown. Your body will also be draped with a sheet in order to be as modest as possible. The exam performed includes placement of the speculum in the vagina and the bi-manual exam which is an internal exam of the uterus and ovaries.
As a PTA, you are expected to offer immediate feedback regarding both your comfort during the exam and on the communication skills of the student. You are always in control of what is happening in the room and we encourage you to speak up when necessary to facilitate the learning process and your own comfort. Your comfort is of primary importance.
While this work is rewarding, the monetary compensation cannot be your sole motivation. The women who make this commitment find gratification from working in the service of learning and impacting future physician-patient interactions.
NOTE: To allow for a successful exam, participants must have a body mass index (BMI) that is under 30. This role is not recommended or advised for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or trauma.
Questions to ask yourself
- Do I like to work with people?
- Am I motivated by being of service to others?
- Do I enjoy the teaching environment?
- Would I be willing to expose my pelvic area for the purpose of this type of examination?
- Would I be willing to give students feedback regarding my level of physical comfort?
- Do I feel comfortable with my body?
If you answered “Yes” to most or all of these questions, chances are you may find it gratifying to be a pelvic model.
- Have I ever experienced sexual abuse or trauma?
If you answered “Yes” to this question, please do not consider applying to be a pelvic model.
- Have I had a complete hysterectomy?
If you answered “Yes” to this question, you will not be able to participate as a pelvic model. You can be without your ovaries, but must have your uterus.
- Have I had a pelvic exam before?
If you answered “No” to this question, you must have one prior to making a final decision to be a pelvic model. Otherwise, please do not consider applying to be a pelvic model.