10 March 2007


I think I got my mojo back. It's like a long lost sweater to be honest, and it's a welcome return. This week I've probably been highly irritating to all and sundry, but hey, it works for me.
Besides, the weather's been good and I've been enjoying cycling (only fell off once in the last fortnight...), and as such I'm gonna go cycle a few miles now for fun!

While I'm away-ish this weekend, I have a challenge for you.
As you know, I do a PBL (problem based learning) medical course. I'm inviting email submissions of people's personal takes on the PBL system of training health professions. But first I will give you some background knowledge.
  • splits the academic year into smaller groups of people who work through questions together
  • allows the individual group to define their own learning objectives (based around a scenario) and define their own education
  • often means that students get to meet patients earlier in a general practice setting
  • often means less lectures and more focussed group time
  • essentially produces doctors who have largely taught themselves medicine.
Understandably this is from my take of medical school so far, and I welcome any ammendments or additions to my list.
What I want to know is how you feel about that?
I'm comparing my medical school to the likes of Oxford, Cambridge and ?St Andrew's, whereby the students do a couple of years of pure science before they learn any clinical skills or meet patients.
And calling all nurses, paramedics, other health professionals....do you notice a difference?
Emails requested to bloodystudents@hotmail.co.uk please ASAP, and I will publish (with credit if requested) on here over the next few weeks.


HospitalPhoenix said...

I've noticed a difference.

For the past 5 years or so, medical students here have been exceptionally good at pushing themselves forward, making themselves heard, and speaking out even when the answer is wrong.

They are terrible at learning, because they don't have the basic sciences on which to hang the facts and intricacies of clinical medicine / surgery.

I compare these students to those I've taught at [traditional school] who were quietly confident, and able to work things out from first principles.

As an example... a systolic heart murmur. In a group of PBL final years, there'll be one or two who can rattle off causes of a systolic murmur, the others don't have a clue. Amongst the traditional students however, they tend to be able to work such things out from first principles. Their knowledge of cardian anatomy and physiology is so good that their guesses tend to be correct.

I guess my conflict of interest is that I'm a quiet person who doesn't speak up unless they know they're correct. On this basis, I cannot get used to the current cohort of medical students who barge in and introduce themselves flamboyantly, then haven't got a flipping clue about medicine.

A balance between knowledge and social skills is good, but too many social skills with a lack of knowlege is cringworthingly embarrassing. Strangely enough, the knowledgeable students don't seem to lack social skills. In fact, their communication skills are far more appropriately directed than those of the students who shout, make eye contact +++ and flounce around as though they're something special, without an anatomical gem of knowledge between them.

DundeeMedStudent said...

I have to agree with HP.
I am so glad I've got the basic sciences from my BSc- because we simply aren't taught them at Dundee. I often sit in my PBL group trying to teach physiology and pharmacology.

I am very worried that our generation of med students will be awful doctors as they will have only learned lists of things and not how to work things out.

HospitalPhoenix said...

DMS - you're practicing PBL as the McMaster model was intended!

Except the McMaster model was based on a group of graduates who all taught each other different things. So the fine art graduate could draw the heart and explain its anatomy; the physics graduate could explain the ECG, etc.

the little medic said...

I should really leave you a detailed comment or email you but I'm a bit busy at the moment. I'll try if I remember sometime this week.

I'm from a heavily PBL based course and quite frankly I'm getting a bit fed up of DIY medicine. I quite like the concept of PBL I just don't think it really works in practice most of the time!

DundeeMedStudent said...

Apparently Glasgow who are currently PBL dominant are planning on dropping it and returning to a traditionally taught course.

ecparamedic said...

Glad to hear you are feeling better Merys.

As for PBL, it hasn't reached the Ambos in the West yet. Unless that's what they call 'learning on the job' these days?