Phase 1: Community Attachment Scheme
This scheme is a Student Selected Component (SSC). Its aim is to allow students to explore the psychosocial aspects of chronic illness, pregnancy or disability, within the context of the individual´s family and social life. The course runs from October to May.
The students work in small groups, facilitated by a General Practitioner (GP) tutor and a behavioural scientist. The students are allocated in pairs to a family by the GP to visit on three occasions. After each visit, the group meets to discuss the visit and thus explore course themes.
Assessment is via a written project structured in the form of pre-set questions.
Phase 2: Communication and Consultation Skills
The development of effective communication skills is an essential part of becoming a good doctor and therefore an essential component of medical education. Students must be able to communicate effectively with patients, their relatives and colleagues; these skills are developed throughout the curriculum, with the level of skill progressing with each phase, resulting in graduates who are able to communicate clearly, through use of a variety of media.
The Communication and Consultation Skills module in Phase 2 involves students taking part in two small group teaching sessions – one in June and the second in October.
The sessions are facilitated by a GP tutor. The Calgary Cambridge guide is used to provide a framework for the teaching and learning experience.
The students engage in role play with an actor and perform a consultation which is observed by the fellow students within the group. Following each consultation, feedback is provided by the student.
Formative feedback is also provided by the GP facilitator. Communication skills are assessed summatively during the end of Phase 2 OSCE exams.
Phase 3A: Community and Public Health
This is a seven-week module which provides an introduction to primary health care and the community aspects of public health. The students are attached to a general practice and spend time both with the doctors and with other members of the primary health care team. They are expected to take time to see patients on their own; develop their communication skills; and to learn more about the wide range of care provided by the primary health care team. The General Practice attachment provides students with a context in which to place the public health principles of prevention, screening, health promotion and communicable disease control. The main themes for the module are the primary care aspects of paediatrics, mental health, obstetrics, women´s health, care of the elderly and living with disabilities. During the module, they also attend clinics in family planning and sexual health, and drug misuse.
The students attend the university one day per week for core teaching. This consists of seminar teaching in the mornings and small group teaching in the afternoons. The seminar topics include epidemiology, communicable disease control, inequalities in health, disabilities and trans-cultural issues. The small groups meet every week under the supervision of a GP tutor. It provides the opportunity to discuss practice experiences and significant events. This helps the students to develop reflective practice. An integrated learning activity (ILA) occurs each week where students discuss learning objectives set the previous week from a case scenario. Students are encouraged to develop their critical reading. Although communication skills do not form a formal part, there are opportunities for the students to develop these skills in these sessions.
Assessment comprises tutor assessment by both GP practice tutor and the small group tutor and the Phase 3A end of year exams (OSCE, EMQ, MEQ).
Phase 3B: Community and Palliative Care
This is an eight-week module, which provides advanced clinical experience and learning in general practice. Students´ time is divided between the practice and small group work in general practice. The practice-based teaching is largely clincial and is based on the wide range of diseases and conditions which patients present with in the General Practice setting. Students attend the practice for two and a half days a week and are expected to consult with patients, make diagnoses and formulate management plans for the clinical problems they encounter. During the practice attachment, students are expected to undertake and write up an audit project, which forms the SSC component of the module, and which is marked by one of the GP tutors.
The small group sessions are partly based around a series on Integrated Learning Activities (ILAs) which link to a number of Core Curriculum topics and partly based around significant events that students have encountered in their practices during the preceding week.
Advanced communication and consulting skills are taught in three separate sessions in this module and teaching is based on the Calgary-Cambridege model of consulting, using both actors and video teaching material.
The students spend one of the eight weeks at one of the local hospices/palliative care units learning about a wide range of clincal and ethical issues that underpin the care of patients at this stage of their lives.
Assessment comprises tutor assessment by both the practice tutor and the small group tutor and successful completion of the audit/SSC component of the module.
All small group teaching is delivered by lecturers or trained GPs linked to the department.