Learning in the program will be interesting and challenging. It will sometimes be fun, and sometimes it will seem to be chaotic and difficult. Inevitably there will times when you will be confused and unsure of how it all adds up. At other times you will experience the excitement of understanding an issue and seeing the pieces fit together, and the satisfaction of mastering new skills and integrating them into your developing practice. Learning in this program will change the way you look at the world, other people, yourself, and the medical profession.
The program aims to support your development in eight capability areas that capture UNSW Medicine’s goals for you as a medical graduate:
The program has been designed so that you have time to complete your project and assignment work, and to extend your study of the material introduced in lectures, tutorials, practical classes and clinical experiences. Most teaching sessions will include suggestions of papers, texts or websites that complement or extend the material covered, and it is expected that you will undertake further study based on these suggestions in the areas that you are curious about, or that you feel you don't understand well enough.
The coherence of the program depends on you taking the initiative. The program gives you the freedom to study more widely and deeply in areas that you judge will benefit your development as a medical professional. At the same time it does not dictate exactly what you should read or how much you should study. These are decisions you are best placed to make, and making them is an important part of your development in the capabilities of ‘Self direction and critical evaluation’ and ‘Development as a reflective practitioner’.
Each course giving you the freedom and the responsibility to focus and direct your own learning to this extent, raises some interesting issues for the assessment system. You will find that the Course and Phase assessment and examinations may go a little beyond what has been studied in class. Your wider and deeper reading will stand you in good stead in these assessments and examinations, giving you extended knowledge and insights that you can draw upon when formulating your responses. The grading system has been designed to reward responses that demonstrate an understanding of concepts and processes that go beyond what is expected from students at each Phase. In this way the program will reward your initiative while encouraging your development as a self-directed learner.
The program incorporates a number of innovative educational elements designed to support your development in these capabilities:
All these are intended to support you as you work to achieve the expectations of the capabilities of graduates from the program.
When you graduate we want you to be a confident and proficient practitioner in all the capability areas, and a reflective and autonomous learner who will continue to develop as a medical professional throughout your career.
Rather than using a single style of learning and teaching, the program employs a range of approaches designed to encourage you to become progressively more independent and reflective in your development as a medical professional. Each Phase of the program has its own style of learning and teaching.
Phase 1: Scenario based learning
Teaching in Phase 1 is organised around scenarios which present authentic activities of a medical graduate. You will be encouraged to discuss these scenarios in your scenario groups, and to reflect on the issues that they raise. Through a series of learning activities - lectures, tutorials, practicals and scenario group sessions - you will explore the key issues and concepts that will eventually be examined at the end of each course. You will also be able to choose to pursue topics that interest you through your project and assignment work. The scenarios and other learning activities have been designed to widen your understanding of the issues that medical practice involves, while providing you with a sound introduction to the sciences and skills of modern medicine. In semester 2 courses, learning activities will be made up of a mix of first and second year students. The mix of students and the activities planned will give you realistic opportunities to develop your team work, communication and reflection capabilities.
Phase 2: Practice based learning
In this Phase, you will spend more time in actual clinical and practical experiences. You will use these experiences to refine your developing medical knowledge. You will be able to pursue topics of interest through assignments and group projects. Small group tutorials and case method tutorials will help you combine the acquisition of clinical skills with continued learning about the scientific and social mechanisms underlying health and disease. During Phase 2, real clinical experiences will form the focus of your reflections.
During Phase 2, you will undertake an Independent Learning Project. This is an opportunity to focus on an in-depth study of a topic of your choosing. You can choose to pursue a laboratory-based project in the medical sciences, or investigate issues in the social sciences, humanities, clinical medicine or another discipline, which is directly relevant to the practice of medicine. The Independent Learning Project is an opportunity for you to develop your research and reporting skills while exploring in depth an area of medical practice that interests you.
Phase 3: Independent reflective learning
In this Phase, you will be attached to clinical teams where you will learn by doing and by pursuing learning projects related to the team’s work and to the settings they are located in. The settings will include hospital based and ambulatory settings. In this Phase, much of your work will be negotiated with your clinical supervisors. Towards the end of the Phase, after you have completed your examinations and the portfolio assessment, you will be able to concentrate on preparing for the transition to the intern role in the Preparation for Internship (PRINT) course.