Throughout the course, the emphasis is on learning in clinical settings supported by small group seminars, tutorials and discussion groups and large group activities including clinic-pathological demonstrations and lectures.
Learning Methods – Core Medical Science
Teaching is based in the central Cambridge science departments; students learn alongside standard course pre-clinical students attending lectures, practical classes and College supervisions.
Learning Methods – Clinical Teaching
Clinical teaching is delivered on the wards (with additional opportunities to attend general and specialist outpatient clinics) and in general practice. Years 1, 2 and 4 are based at West Suffolk Hospital, and Year 3 is based and in Cambridge and in regional hospitals/practices to take advantage of the different educational opportunities which they are able to offer including:
- Small student group sizes;
- Experience of different hospital/general practice environments;
- Exposure to a different range of patients and ethnic populations;
- Building relationships between students and consultants/GPs throughout the region, facilitating progression to the pre-registration/foundation period.
Much of the material in the curriculum themes is delivered in small groups, including clinical and communication skills work with simulated patients and actors and Professional Practice Groups, both of which occur throughout the course.
Learning Methods – General Practice and Community-base
During Years 1 and 2 , students are attached to General Practices in and around Bury St Edmunds. They provide students with a variety of patients to gain experience of conditions generally seen in the community.
Four students in each year group are attached to a single practice, with designated General Practitioner time facilitating experiential learning, and giving opportunity to observe illness and disease over a long period. General Practitioners act as individual tutors and practices are linked to facilitate group learning.
Learning Methods – Supervisions and Tutorials
For all Cambridge undergraduate courses, weekly supervisions during term are organised for small groups of students in the College to develop and support departmental teaching.
During Years 1 and 2 , College groups meet a clinician tutor once a week in term to discuss an Index Case – a clinical case which puts the medical science into context. There are also up to three supervisions a week with a subject specialist to support the Second MB lecture programme. During clinical placements, students are allocated to a group for weekly bedside teaching with a local Clinical Supervisor who helps to develop clinical method. Topic-based tutorials and discussions of ethical problems may also be included.
For Year 3, the arrangements are the same as for standard course students.
During Year 4, when they are based at the West Suffolk Hospital, students again have a local clinical supervisor.
CGC tutors are practising clinicians with a key role and responsibility in the development, management and delivery of the CGC who provide academic support to the students including the delivery of Index Case supervisions.
The Years 1 and 2 Medical Science curriculum is based on the lecture programme organised by the Faculty of Biology supported by practical classes and demonstrations.
In the clinical components of the CGC, clinic-pathological conferences (CPCs), are used to describe clinical conditions and the patho-physiology that underlies them; clinical experience then demonstrates and reinforces the content of the CPCs.
Lecturers provide support materials which are made available to students electronically.
Self-directed learning is encouraged; students are given guidance on learning methods and autonomous learning is supported by the on-line learning materials.
Review and Integration (R&I) Weeks
Students are brought together for a series of ‘Review and Integration’ weeks spread throughout the course. These include a programme of lectures covering subject matter that, for educational or practical reasons, is best delivered in large groups. These weeks also facilitate student interaction within the year group.
Practical Clinical Skills
Opportunities for learning practical clinical skills are provided in all placements and reinforced by Clinical Supervisors. A Clinical Skills Unit (CSU) based in Addenbrooke’s has responsibility for planning and delivery of an integrated programme of practical clinical skills supported by clinical skills centres and staff in the regional hospitals. The Skills curriculum is delivered simultaneously in Cambridge and in the regional hospitals. The West Suffolk Hospital has its own Centre for Clinical Skills and Simulation (The Siklos Centre) and this can be accessed and utilised by medical students.
Library and IT Facilities
All Clinical Students are registered with the Medical Library on their arrival. As well as electronic resources available via University RAVEN logins, students are automatically registered for login to NHS ATHENS. All the key resources for learning and practicing evidence based medicine are available including Cochrane Library, Medline, Embase, NHS Evidence. Self-service networked printing, scanning and photocopying facilities are available. Students have the use of study room which is equipped with PCs but can also be used with Bring Your Own Device,on the , plus additional PCs in the Sherwood Room (the student common room). There is Wifi throughout the Clinical School building.
All regional partner NHS Trusts have library and IT provision.
The Clinical School Computing Service (CSCS) manages the Virtual Learning Environment, MedEd, which hosts all the academic and administrative material for the curriculum. The online student and programme evaluation system and certain online assessments also form part of the MedEd system.