Fla. hospital hope to hire 'patients'

Dec. 16, 2011 at 9:31 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A Florida university says it hopes to recruit more "professional patients" to help train medical students in patient interactions and clinical skills.

Nova Southeastern University is looking to recruit more patients of all ages, said Dr. Martha Echols, assistant dean of medical education at NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"A number of people are unemployed in Broward County, so we were going to try to recruit people for the program," Echols told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "People who are out of work might like it. It's not steady work, but it pays well."

Most medical schools pay anywhere from $15 to $25 per hour, Dr. Alex Mechaber at University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine said.

Most paid "patients" are healthy but are given a script to follow in portraying a certain illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis or asthma or congestive heart failure.

Medical student learn to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan based on a patient's "illness."

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