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Evaluation of a novel longitudinal clinical placement in the MBBS programme, Newcastle University

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sharmila JandialORCiD, Dr Sonia Bussey, Dr Richard Frearson


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Background & Purpose Within the MBBS programme at Newcastle Medical School semester 1 of the fourth year has traditionally been classroom-based, focussed on the knowledge and skills required for requesting clinical investigations and prescribing.Whilst important for consolidation of core knowledge for the student, there has been a concern that clinical skills, and contextual learning, may suffer during this period. In light of this, and in anticipation of the new curriculum currently being implemented, a new longitudinal clinical placement was offered to 4th year students in the academic years 2016/17 (year 1) and 2017/18 (year 2). Methodology All 4th year students were offered an additional clinical placement, on top of timetabled sessions, at induction. Participation was voluntary, for either morning or afternoon sessions. Supervisors were recruited from 2 local teaching hospitals across a wide range of specialties. Data was collected at baseline and completion in both academic years. Qualitative data was collected by focus groups with students (year 1) and supervisors (year 2). As an audit and evaluation of curriculum review, ethical approval was not deemed necessary. Results Students participation increased between year 1 (39/325, 12%) and year 2 (50/301, 17%). Students rated the placement highly, and would recommend this to their peers (year 1 38/39, 97%, year 3 47/50, 94%). Placements included core specialties such as medicine and general surgery, alongside laboratory, community and sub-specialty placements. Student-reported clinical experience was diverse including outpatient clinics, operating theatres, attending special schools and participation at post-mortems. Themes arising from focus groups included the importance of preparation; students would have liked more formal learning objectives and their clinical placement to provide clinical context to their concurrent classroom-based learning. Similarly, supervisors recognised the importance of understanding the student’s requirements and goals, to enable them to tailor the clinical experience appropriately. The brevity of the placement compared to traditional clinical rotations was raised as both a positive and negative by supervisors; it was less onerous on the supervisor and allowed them to focus teaching on a particular session but the disjointed nature meant they did not form the same relationship as they would in a more immersive experience. Discussion & Conclusions We have shown that a longitudinal clinical placement is both feasible, and acceptable to students and supervisors. Preparation for both students and supervisors will be key to future longitudinal placements and will inform curriculum changes. Limitations to this evaluation include the voluntary nature of the project, and small numbers of students involved. However the increase between year 1 and 2, and high recommendation, are seen as positive. Once longitudinal placements are core to the curriculum, further evaluation will be necessary including a specific focus on the preparation of both students and supervisors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jandial S, Bussey S, Sandford T, Frearson R

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: ASME Annual Scientific Meeting

Year of Conference: 2018

Acceptance date: 11/07/2018