A new way to deliver clinical education
Press release issued: 4 May 2007
A new way of delivering clinical education, the clinical academy, has been successfully developed and implemented by the University of Bristol Medical School.
The paper, Clinical academies: innovative school-heath services partnerships to deliver clinical education, describes the establishment and refinement of the new model over the past five years.
At the turn of this century, Bristol’s Medical School faced significant challenges to the effective delivery of the clinical curriculum. This required a radical rethinking of the pattern of student placements and the structure of clinical teaching.
To address these challenges, clinical academies were set up that offered the entire range of clinical training, including psychiatry and primary care, in an integrated local education organisation that shares learning facilities with medical postgraduates and other health professionals.
The main features of the new model are:
- having both in-Bristol and out-of-Bristol campuses for clinical education;
- innovative partnerships with local health care providers;
- local leadership of educational delivery;
- the recruitment and training of new clinical teachers.
The seven clinical academies comprise two based in traditional acute-care teaching hospitals in Bristol and five in the surrounding counties. The same Bristol curriculum is delivered in every clinical academy by locally recruited hospital specialists and general practitioners. Each academy is led by an academy medical dean, who has local responsibility for programme delivery, quality assurance, academic and personal support for students, and finances on behalf of the University.
Medical students rotate between clinical academies every half academic year, alternately based in and outside of Bristol. They learn clinical medicine and develop clinical competence as apprentice members of a local multiprofessional learning community.
Bristol’s Medical School now has enough high-quality clinical placements to accommodate increasing numbers of medical students whilst keeping a “human scale” of educational environment.
Dr David Mumford, Director of Medical Education and Reader in Cross-Cultural Psychiatry at Bristol University and author of the paper, said: “Clinical academies represent not so much a devolution of responsibility for curriculum delivery as a widening participation in medical education.
“They also represent a new kind of partnership between Bristol’s Medical School and regional NHS Trusts. This involves a greater teaching role for NHS doctors in these trusts and the fostering of local medical education skills and leadership.
“The Bristol clinical academies have some unique features, and Bristol’s model may provide a useful model for other medical schools to consider.”