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Dr Alison Convey gives a round-up of all things “Patient and Doctor”

A doctor and a patient in discussion © Shutterstock

Patient & Doctor I Course (“PDI”)

Our PDI tutors have faced huge challenges this term. How do you teach groups of up to eight pre-clinical students, many of whom live in colleges where Covid is escalating and give them the best possible clinical experience whilst keeping everyone safe? It has been a conundrum which tutors have approached with determination and ingenuity. Employing a combination of “Covid safe” face-to-face teaching, virtual patient consultations and other online resources, tutors have very successfully kept the show on the road. They have continued to deliver high quality sessions which were accessible to students even if they were self-isolating.

One online tool which has been popular with PDI tutors this term has been the Virtual Primary Care resource. Produced as a collaboration between the UK Heads of GP Undergraduate Teaching Group and the team who make TV’s GPs Behind Closed Doors, it is a large video bank of genuine GP consultations, covering a wide spectrum of illness and social problems. Whilst nothing can replace face-to-face patient contact, students have greatly valued the opportunity to watch and critique “real” interactions between a patient and doctor. 

Whilst Covid is still so prevalent, the “default” next term will be online teaching. However, we very much hope to see students returning to practices on a regular basis a bit later in 2021. Thank you so much to all tutors for your dedication and hard work this term. 

GP Placement as part of the Patient & Doctor II Course

A huge thanks also goes to all tutors who took our Year 4 students for their first full clinical placement in September (known as “PDII”). This year, we were very pleased that the “PDII” block was extended from a week to a fortnight. The logistics of planning were somewhat dizzying: placing our largest ever cohort (145 students) into 88 practices, 47 of which had never taken students for this particular course before. It is testament to the immense skill and determination of our admin team that this was achieved.

We were fearful that Covid may have a restricting impact on what students were able to achieve on their attachments. However, the feedback from both tutors and students has been outstandingly positive. The overwhelming message from students has been how much they valued the opportunity to start developing their clinical skills in a supportive and motivating environment. In turn, tutors have approached us to say how much they enjoyed having such enthusiastic students in practice and that it was the high point of a difficult year. To support students’ clinical work, the teaching team produced Canvas modules for the first time, which were well-received.

The plan is for Primary Care to keep the extended two-week “PDII” block next year. We are really excited about developing the curriculum further and designing more online teaching to support students’ clinical placements.

A very merry Christmas to you all!

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