Communication skills are a key part of the UEA curriculum enabling students to learn excellence in consultation skills and inter-personnel skills. The aim of this early teaching in communication is to build the right attitudes and professional standards to help make better doctors. The students get small group teaching and a chance to role play with actors continually throughout all five years of the course building up to skills like breaking bad news and dealing with anger and conflict.
Examination skills have not changed much over time but the method of teaching has. Structured patient teaching sessions comprise much of the core work in the hospital. These provide high quality intensive teaching of both medicine and clinical skills and rely on the amazing generosity of the volunteer patients who come up to the hospital to give a few hours specifically for these teaching sessions.
Everything from taking a blood pressure to inserting a urinary catheter or defibrillation is taught in a structured and safe environment of the skills lab. This ensures that students are confident and competent on models before they are released on the public. Here at the Trust we are involved in the setting up of clinical skill sessions in suturing, gloving and gowning, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections etc.
Simulation has been expanded within the MBBS course at the JPUH and is present within the majority of Modules. The sessions take place in our newly appointed Simulation Suite. Simulation gives the students the chance to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses, using scenarios created by Medical Professionals.
OSCES (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations)
We also host examinations. This is a practical exam and provides a robust-assessment method. The UEA has a very OSCE-rich course with end of Module and end of year exams requiring that each student has to pass 13 OSCEs in order to graduate.
We have now completed 12 years in the Norwich Medical School at the James Paget University Hospital. The first entry was September 2002 when initial intake was 100 students and 12 years later it has risen to 168 students. We look forward to every Graduation day when it is always enormously satisfying and exciting to see how many students have graduated and will start their career with us at the JPUH.
The James Paget clinicians are represented across the training programmes and are tremendously enthusiastic. There has also been great support from the Board of Directors. There is no doubt that the quality of clinical skills teaching, equipment and assessment has improved and the curriculum is much more relevant. Our students have proved themselves to be caring, thinking, adaptable, organised and robust and this can only be good for them and perhaps more importantly for patients and the NHS. It is very encouraging to see our graduate’s level of success in their entry into specialist training programmes, UEA graduates scoring 2nd place in the number of successful applications. With the advent of the new Faculty of Health at the UEA, we look forward to the MedicalSchool going from strength to strength over the next 25 years.