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.
Clinical teaching is delivered on the wards (with additional opportunities to attend general and specialist outpatient clinics) and in general practice. The course is based in Cambridge although at least one third is delivered 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.
There are also supervisions, tutorials and lectures. Learning in small groups is important with an average of six-eight in an Undergraduate Clinical Supervision group. Group sizes on the wards are also small, between two (regional hospitals) and seven (Addenbrooke’s); in Year 6 there is a maximum of two students per clinical team anywhere. Tutorials in General Practice are given on a one-to-one or one-to-two basis. The majority of clinical teaching is delivered to small groups of students by practising clinicians in all specialities.
Students are expected to play an active role in their clinical team, to follow up a group of patients including watching special investigations or treatment and to present patients on ward rounds and in clinical and MDT (Multi-disciplinary Team) meetings.
Weekly Undergraduate Clinical Supervisions are organised for students (in Cambridge College groups) whenever students are based at Addenbrooke’s.Similar student groups are organised duringRegional Hospital placements in Year 4 and Year 6 (Regional Undergraduate Clinical Supervisions). Supervisions focus on improving clinical skills and reinforcing the lessons of Clinical and Communication Skills and are generally delivered by appropriately trained junior doctors as near-peer teaching sessions. Topic-based tutorials and discussions of ethical problems may also be included.
In general, there are no lectures during clinical placements. Self-directed learning is encouraged; students are given guidance on learning methods in Year 4 and autonomous learning is supported by the on-line learning materials.
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.
Review and Integration (R&I) Weeks
Students are brought together for a series of 12 ‘Review and Integration’ weeks spread throughout the clinical 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 region hospitals.
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 a 60 PC study room on the upper floor of the library, plus wifi and additional PCs in the Sherwood Room (the student common room).
All regional partner NHS Trusts have library and IT provision.
The Clinical School Computing Service (CSCS) manages MedEd which hosts all the academic and administrative material for the curriculum. The online student and programme evaluation system and certain online assessments are part of the MedEd system.