ScotGEM is a unique and innovative four-year graduate entry medical programme focused on enthusing graduates to become generalist practitioners (not necessarily GPs), with experience in rural health care and healthcare improvement. The programme will prepare students for any branch of medicine with appropriate further training.
ScotGEM uses the existing strengths of medical teaching in the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee and our local health boards in Fife and Tayside, in collaboration with NHS Highland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and the University of Highlands and Islands. The first year will be based at the University of St Andrews and within Fife, components of the course in the second, third and potentially fourth years will include periods of living and studying in other regions of Scotland.
A bursary of £4,000 each year will be available to all students, those who accept the bursary will complete a return of service to NHS Scotland of one year for each year of bursary accepted. Return of service, sometimes known as bonding, will commence at the start of Foundation training.
From week one, your learning will be focused around real patient scenarios using an approach known as Case Based Learning. Semester one will use cases to focus on foundational medical sciences to underpin subsequent more challenging scenarios. Consultation skills will be introduced early alongside topics such as biochemistry, pharmacology and anatomy and weekly clinical experience in the community. The course is designed as a spiral in which the complexity and challenge of the cases builds as you and your peers become more effective learners.
Semester two focuses on body systems so that related regional anatomy and examination skills can be learnt in parallel. You will be engaged in small group workplace-based learning for one day per week, supported in the community by dedicated Generalist Clinical Mentors (GCM) who are trained GP tutors.
Second year is largely structured around the lifecycle but will be delivered in different regions. You will be expected to spend some weeks away from Fife with opportunity to study in Tayside, the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway. NHS Boards will provide accommodation when required. You will continue to work for a day each week with a GCM in their practice but also spend an additional half day in a specialist clinical environment. Second year closes by providing experience of unscheduled care (GP, Emergency department, ambulance etc.) and two periods of project work related to five underpinning Vertical Themes (Informatics, Quality Improvement, Prescribing and therapeutics, Public health and community engagement).
Throughout the course these five Vertical Themes will also develop expertise as ‘agents of change’ within the health service. For example, students might work with a group of general practices to research and analyse prescribing patterns before implementing an agreed improvement.
Third year is designed as a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship with students being immersed into a community for the duration of the year. You will be based in a general practice, seeing many patients each week and following a selection through their illness journey. This approach works especially well for graduates and has been shown to develop more patient-centred doctors with improved decision-making skills.
Fourth year offers you, as a now competent generalist student, the opportunity to be immersed in the hospital environment and prepare yourself for work as a junior doctor through two one-month Foundation Apprenticeships and other hospital based clinical attachments. You may choose areas of particular interest, perhaps a potential career choice, which you can experience in greater depth. You will also arrange an eight-week elective of your choice.
Upon successful completion of the ScotGEM programme, graduates will receive a primary medical qualification (PMQ), which allows them to apply for subsequent postgraduate training in any specialty through normal routes. It also entitles graduates to provisional registration with the General Medical Council.
The ScotGEM course will be based on clinical cases from the outset. These will be supported by a set of learning objectives, lectures, practical classes, tutorials, simulated and ‘real’ clinical and consultation skills plus extensive supported independent and peer-peer learning.
Your learning will be underpinned by a sophisticated online Curriculum Management System (GEMonline), which will give access to a wide range of resources and enable progress to be monitored for all including the geographically dispersed class from second year.
Increasingly, especially in second year, learning will become more self-directed and you will be reliant upon yourself and your peers to explore, investigate and learn from the cases (guided by clear learning objectives with synchronised centrally organised teaching). This approach will set you up well for learning based on real patients in the clinical environment.
The Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship in third year will allow you to join a team and learn whilst becoming increasingly involved in patient care. You will select patients to follow through and study them, their conditions and their care in more detail. Where relevant you will attend specialist clinics, operations etc. as you follow these individuals’ journey through the healthcare system.
Finally, in fourth year, you will experience intensive hospital attachments that involve shadowing Foundation Doctors and other secondary care attachments.
Each year will require you to pass assessments of knowledge, clinical skills and a portfolio demonstrating professional development.
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