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Medical Students Experience Highland Healthcare and The Patient Journey
Pictured: DLIC students with Dr Yvonne Wedekind (third from left)
Fourth year medical students from Dundee University are experiencing what it is like to work in a Highland healthcare setting as part of a novel development in UK medical education intended to address both the healthcare needs of the 21st century and to promote the Highlands as a place to live and work.
The longitudinal integrated clerkship has been developed mainly due to its educational value in creating excellent doctors but also to help address recruitment issues in General Practice and rural areas.
Dr Yvonne Wedekind, Regional tutor and GP Teaching Fellow with Highland Medical Education Centre, Raigmore, explained that traditionally medical students were trained within hospitals however modern healthcare is increasingly being delivered outside this environment, in the community.
“The clerkship programme is giving Dundee University fourth year medical students the opportunity to spend the year learning in the community.
“They become integrated into a GP practice for one year and, supported by their GP tutor; the students have the privilege of following patients over the year which helps to promote a deeper understanding of the patient’s healthcare journey and their community.
“Students are able to accompany their patients into clinics and wards in Raigmore and Belford Hospitals as well as attending additional teaching there.”
Dr Wedekind explained that five GP practices in Highland are involved in the programme within the Highland region area
“Longitudinal Clerkships have been successfully delivered in Australia, Canada and the USA and have been shown to enable students to become more involved in-patient care; help the students to develop links with the local community; and lead to a more patient centred approach.
“There is evidence that students who have attachments in rural areas are more likely to work in these settings.
“There is also good evidence that students who have a positive experience in their GP attachments are more likely to choose that speciality as a career.”
Dr Stuart Smith, GP, Kinmylies medical practice, said:
“DLIC offers our students an exceptional year of immersive clinical exposure, one which cannot be rivalled for its breadth, immediacy, holism and opportunities for building first-class clinical skills and essential professional attributes, under intensive one-to-one mentoring from ‘expert generalists’ dedicated to teaching.
“The program also represents a long overdue and vital step towards the re-balancing of undergraduate medical education towards its de facto home, primary care.”
Catherine Murton (Rosie), DLIC student based at Dingwall medical practice, said:
“Taking part in the DLIC has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity.
“It has been a privilege to truly become part of a primary care team, and to get to know the local community and its patients.
“I am able to run my own surgeries throughout the year, with patients coming back in to see me for follow-up.
“This provides continuity for both myself and the patients and is unlike the opportunities that most fourth-year medical students get.
“I am also able to follow patients from primary care to secondary care, which further reinforces my insight into the patient journey.
“The clerkship offers a holistic and rounded approach to learning medicine, and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“It has also exposed me to the beauty of the Highlands and given me a greater appreciation of some of the benefits and challenges that come with living in more rural communities.”
In the future there are plans for the longitudinal clerkship model to be expanded both within Dundee Medical School and with Scotgem, the new graduate entry medical school.
If you would like to learn more please email Dr Yvonne Wedekind, DLIC regional tutor and teaching fellow - Y.email@example.com.
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