N.B. The information below is authored by the mini-project applicants, not by staff of MEDEV. This text represents the views and opinions of the mini-project team only, not those of MEDEV or its affiliates.
Dr Christine Bundy and colleagues in BeSST
In their publication 'Tomorrow's Doctors' the GMC identifies knowledge of aspects of psychology / behavioural sciences is crucial to the practice of medicine. See for e.g.
* Graduates must take account of patients' understanding and experience of their condition, and be aware of the psychological effect that this can have on them and their families.
* Graduates must be aware of the health hazards of medical practice, the importance of their own health and the effect that their health has on their ability to practise safely and
effectively as a doctor. Tomorrow's Doctors (GMC 1993)
As an academic Health Psychologist with 10 years experience of teaching & learning in Medicine I have identified what I consider to be the key psychological concepts and processes that medical students need to know about.
These are summarised as:
a) health psychology / psychological or behavioural medicine - this contributes directly to understanding of health and illness, and to the practice of medicine
b) awareness of learning styles - this equips doctors with the psychological tools to be lifelong learners and educators
c) self-awareness - this contributes to robust psychological health for practitioners working in demanding and rapidly changing work environments.
However, despite the increasing number of psychologists who contribute to undergraduate medical programmes nationally there is no consensus for what aspects of psychology / behavioural sciences should be taught in medicine, how it should be learned or how it should be assessed. This is equally true of social sciences and humanities and is also the case for dentistry and veterinary medicine.
During programme reviews and evaluations there is rarely a subject expert in the above disciplines applied to medicine on the panel. In addition students will have a hit and miss experience of the Behavioural & Social sciences depending on where they chose to study medicine.
In response to this position I and three other colleagues from two other universities formed a national organisation called Behavioural & Social Sciences Teaching in Medicine (BeSST), this group provides a forum for psychologists, sociologists and representatives form other cognate disciplines to discuss teaching & learning practice.
The British Psychological Society (BPS) Standing Committee for the Teaching of Psychology to other Professional Groups (TOPTOP) has not been able to outline what forms the core psychological knowledge for medicine but has agreed it is necessary and recently approached myself and the co-chair of BeSST to attend a meeting and receive advice on this core curriculum.
There are two main reasons for working towards consensus:
a) for internal quality assurance and external validation to ensure medical students are provided with the best learning opportunities in this specialist area
b) to provide a baseline for curriculum development and research.
We are beginning to focus on areas of good practice and are in a good position to disseminate these through the subject centre and advise the academy on areas of teaching & learning and research within the BeSST in medicine.
We have started to identify key areas within our disciplines for application to medicine which we tested with a national audience last year at AMEE and this year at AMEE I will be running a workshop to explore these core areas further with an international audience.
The workshop will use a novel interactive technique to generate data in order to provide a consensus statement on the core concepts. Small groups will be facilitated by expert facilitators, all of whom have considerable experience in curriculum design and teaching psychology to medical students.
The workshop provides us with an opportunity to:
a) systematically collect primary research data in order to identify a core curriculum for psychology teaching & learning in undergraduate medicine;
b) to test a novel interactive workshop method
c) to establish a network of international experts with potential for further research collaboration.
It is anticipated that this project will result in general and subject centre specific outcomes:
a) two publications for subject specialist journals - one with respect to the workshop findings, i.e the consensus statement, and another on the new workshop technique
b) a draft 'core curriculum' for behavioural sciences in medicine for use by other behavioural & social scientists working in medical curricula and for endorsement by the GMC and BPS
c) identify opportunities for collaborative research on the teaching & learning of behavioural sciences in medicine
d) workshop materials (powerpoint slides plus topic cards) for deriving the core behavioural sciences in medicine which could be made available through the subject centre to others with responsibility for this area of medical programmes
e) a validated technique for conducting further workshops using this technique for the social sciences and the humanities in medicine and in dentistry / veterinary medicine. This is a modified nominal group technique and a set of 'playing cards' designed to specify the core content of a discipline area and for matching with key policy documents advising on the curriculum - in the case of Medicine Tomorrows Doctors and Good Medical Practice.
Amount awarded: 2000
MEDEV project contact: Megan Quentin-Baxter
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