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Unit information: Preparing for Professional Practice (Student Assistantships) in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Preparing for Professional Practice (Student Assistantships)
Unit code MEDI30025
Credit points 0
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Forbes
Open unit status Not open

Must have progressed from year 4 of the MB ChB programme



School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


During these assistantships the students will work with foundation year doctors, General Practitioners, Consultants and other healthcare professionals. Students will be given supervised responsibility where appropriate.


  • To gain experience in the hands-on care of patients.
  • To follow-up patients through their hospital journeys or over a series of consultations in primary and community care.
  • To prepare the student for professional practice as a foundation year 1 doctor.

Intended learning outcomes

There will be three Assistantships:

  1. Primary and Community Care
  2. Ward-based Care
  3. Acute and Critical Care

The ILOs below are mapped against Outcomes for Graduates published by the external regulator the General Medical Council (GMC).

Please see the General Medical Council Outcomes for Graduates document for details of learning outcomes. The numbers below relate to these outcomes.

1. Primary and Community Care

Outcomes 1 - Doctor as a Scholar and Scientist – Outcomes 8e, 8f, 9d, 9e, 9f, 10d, 10e.

Outcomes 2 − The doctor as a practitioner – Outcomes 14f, 14g, 14h, 14j.

Outcomes 3 − The doctor as a professional – Outcomes 23b.

2. Medicine and Surgery (Ward-based Care)

Outcomes 1 - Doctor as a Scholar and ScientistOutcomes

Outcomes 2 − The doctor as a practitioner – Outcomes 13e, 13g, 14c, 14g, 14j, 15d, 15e, 15f, 15g, 15h, 18a, 18b, 18c.

Outcomes 3 − The doctor as a professional – Outcomes 22d, 23b, 23c, 23d, 23e, 23g, 23h.

3. Acute and Critical Care

Outcomes 2 − The doctor as a practitioner – Outcomes 13a, 13c, 13d, 13e, 13g, 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d, 14f, 14j, 16a, 16b, 16d, 16e, 18a, 18b.

Outcomes 3 - The doctor as a professional - Outcomes 23a, 23b.

Teaching details

In principle the teaching and learning methods during these assistantships are that the student will be paired with a foundation programme or more senior doctor, nurse specialist, operating department assistant, paramedic etc. caring for patients to gain experience in the hands-on care of patients, this will include a patient-centred pathway so that students follow the patient through their hospital journey or over a series of consultations in the community. Students will be given supervised responsibility where appropriate.

1. Primary and Community Care

Students will work within a community ‘patch’ of 4-8 practices, and will come together for a teaching session once a week at different GP practices on a rotational basis. This teaching session will provide students with an opportunity to discuss difficult or interesting cases that they have seen with a GP tutor. The second part of the teaching session will involve discussion of one of nine core cases. We recognize the importance of the community as a resource for our students, but the student body is also a resource for our community. From 2018/19 this will provide students with the opportunity to develop initiatives to engage with the community local to their practice. This could include, for example, health promotion teaching in a local school, or development of a project with the practice patient participation group. Students will also have the opportunity to gain experience of the GP out of hours (OOH) service.

2. Ward-based Care

Students will spend four weeks in this assistantship and will complete the Immediate Life Support (ILS) course and simulation teaching of the ‘special circumstances’ relevant to the foundation programme usually covered during the Advanced Life Support Course of the UK Resuscitation Council. During the assistantships students will be paired with foundation programme doctors and be involved in the day-today care of patients. They will be expected to admit patients and follow them up, attend investigations and procedures with patients and be involved in significant conversations with them and their families or carers. In addition students will receive other teaching such as simulation, prescribing and radiology tutorials. They will also attend multidisciplinary, audit and governance meetings and be expected to be involved in patient safety procedures [such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) surgical checklist] and projects, and quality improvement projects. We wish students to consider the home-to-hospital-to-home journey for patients. This will include the use of the ‘my bed’ project, and initiatives such as ‘what one thing could I do to make a difference to your stay?’ They will also be involved in teaching others through the Peer Assisted Learning Scheme.

3. Acute and Critical Care Assistantship

Students will be paired with appropriate level professionals and placed on the rota within the Emergency Department, in Anaesthetics, on Intensive Care, High Dependency and Medical Assessment Units. Appropriate professionals might be foundation programme doctors, senior house officers, specialist registrars, consultants, emergency nurse practitioners, etc. Students will be linked one to one with a relevant professional and expected to work the same hours as they do. We suggest they might be on days for a week, followed by late shifts for a week followed by nights. At all times they would receive appropriate rest days but not necessarily the same as the qualified health care professional would get, since they will be swapping between rotas.

Assessment Details

1. Preparing for Professional Practice clinical activities

During Preparing for Professional Practice students will need to gather qualified healthcare professionals’ signatures/sign off confirming each occasion that students engage with the clinical activities required for successful completion of the unit listed within the year 5 handbook. A final checklist of all other requirements for successful completion of PPP, such as courses and workshops, will also need to be signed off during PPP.

Sign off will be assessed by the Academy in which the student undertakes their Preparing for Professional Practice unit with Faculty central quality assurance.

2. Workplace-based assessments

Workplace-based assessments (WPBAs) mirroring those that the students will have to undertake within their foundation programme will be used to assess their clinical work.

3. Assessment of clinical skills

Clinical skills will be assessed by completion of the Consultation and Procedural Skills (CAPS) logbook by which the student will demonstrate having their clinical skills observed in practice and signed off by a qualified observer.

4. Entrustable Professional Activities

The use of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) bridges a potential gap between the theory of competency-based education and clinical practice. EPAs reflect those activities that together constitute the profession. Carrying out most of these EPAs requires the possession of several competencies i.e. the observation of concrete clinical activities infers the presence of multiple competencies from several observed activities. Students may then be awarded responsibility for EPAs. We have adopted the American Association of Medical Colleges core entrustable professional activities modified for UK medical practice and mapped to GMC outcomes for graduates. These can be found at:

5. Assessment of professional behaviour

Students will be expected to engage with their assistantships, their clinical assessments and their team assessments of behaviour and nonattendance or other unprofessional behaviours will require student concern forms to be submitted to the Faculty. Students will receive and reflect upon multisource feedback from peers, healthcare professionals and patients that will be discussed with their Unit tutor.

6. Immediate Life Support

All students will take the Intermediate Life Support (ILS) course during their final year assistantships and they must pass the assessment as a requirement for graduation.

7. Prescribing Safety Assessment

All students take the UK Prescribing Safety Assessment during their final year assistantships and they must pass the assessment as a requirement for graduation.

8 Medical Licensing Assessment

Clinical experience, teaching and workplace based assessments will all be in place to prepare students to pass the medical licensing exam when it is introduced.

Reading and References

To be confirmed.