Teaching and learning methods
The Doctor of Medicine (MD) utilises outcomes based education as its framework.Each of the unit and graduate learning outcome statements is aligned with assessment strategies and a range of teaching methods and learning experiences to facilitate student achievement of the intended outcomes.
There are differences in the proportions of various learning methods used according to the phase of the course.
The Foundations and Systems Phases have similarities due to the more formally structured and didactic nature of the units. A blend of Face to Face and online delivery methods are used. For the small group tutorial sessions these including Case Enhanced Learning (CELs) integrate learning of science and clinical material and introduce students to clinical reasoning strategies.
The Clinical Phase has a higher proportion of clinical attachments with authentic and experiential learning in the clinical environment and less formal teaching.
The Scholarly Activity - Coursework units are delivered mostly online so that they do not interfere with the clinical attachments being undertaken simultaneously.
Early clinical experiences
All MD students have an Introductory Clinical Experience in the first two weeks of the course.Students are allocated predominantly to Emergency, Internal Medicine, Surgery or Mental Health settings for two to three hours. The aim of the session is to introduce students to an authentic clinical environment, observe a doctor-patient interaction, observe other members of the health-care team, and commence their learning of communication skills and professional behaviors.
Later in the day of the session, students have a group debriefing session with an experienced clinical academic to describe their experience. This is highly rated by students. A further two formal clinical placements occur during Foundations in a community and hospital setting. Since the students have learned the principles of history-taking by this point, the clinical experiences provide opportunities for practice of history taking, and also relate to their assignment regarding patient perspectives of health care.
Systems 1 does not have external clinical visits by students but has a higher level of real patients in the seminar series. In Systems 2, each student has a monthly half-day visit to a General Practice, and all students have a hospital clinical experience in each of Emergency Medicine, Mental Health, Internal Medicine, and Surgery.
At this point they have learned some musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal examination skills and have practiced these on peers and simulated patients. These clinical visits are to further practice their communication, history-taking skills, and physical examination skills.
The philosophy of the course involves the doctor’s role centred on patients, the local community and the global society.
The patient perspective and collaborative practice are individual strands and graduate outcome topics to emphasis the importance of the elements of the doctors’s role. Students are routinely attached to clinical teams with responsibilities for care for their patients - with clinical sessions within their own teams as well as any organised teaching sessions, whether at the bedside, or way from it, generally adopting the position of case discussions to help focus learning and accumulation of experience. Students are encouraged in their communication with patients, and focused role as an Educator, to seek out strategies for collaboration with their patients in defining and adopting management plans.
Case presentations and discussions raise issues of compliance, concordance of care and holistic care. Exposure to a team environment of health professionals from the outside of their clinical attachments also provides ample opportunities for further reflection and analysis of how management can involve not only the doctor but other members of the team.