Primary Care Unit contributions to medical education at the University of Cambridge are introduced here. Courses that we deliver during the first three years of the Standard course in Medicine are first, followed by courses we deliver during years 4-6.
Read medical student Ben Paxton’s blog for tips on starting clinical research.
Please follow the links to learn more about each component.
Social and Ethical Context of Health and Illness (SECHI)
The Social and Ethical Context of Health and Illness (SECHI) course is delivered in year one.
It addresses the ways that social factors are implicated in the course of disease and treatment and introduces ethical and legal questions which arise for the medical profession.
The Course Organiser for SECHI is Dr Robbie Duschinsky in the Primary Care Unit. The Ethics component of the course is run by Dr Zoe Fritz.
Integrated Biomedical Problem Solving
Integrated Biomedical Problem Solving (IBiPS) is a pilot teaching programme for first and second year students that is offered to colleges. Designed and delivered by the General Practice Education Group (GPEG), the course provides horizontal integration and clinical contextualisation of each term’s basic medical science content.
The educational process employed also helps students develop specific learning and problem-solving skills essential for applying basic science to clinical practice.
Preparing for Patients (A) provides all first-year students with early patient contact.
This course is provided by GPEG.
Entry to the Profession
This course, delivered in a number of colleges, uses a series of vignettes to encourage small-group discussion of the boundaries of professional behaviours expected of medical students.
Designed by Dr Liz Soilleux (Pathology) and Dr Stephen Barclay (Primary Care Unit).
Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Minor Modules at the PCU
During their third year, called part II of the Tripos, medical students conduct specialist study, choosing from a wide range of subjects offered by the University to qualify for their BA degree.
The Primary Care Unit offers two options for Year 3 medical students, both delivered as BBS Minor papers: Applied Clinical Research and Research Methods in Medical Law and Ethics.
Students can develop themes that they have begun to explore in their BBS module through the Student Selected Components in Year 4 of the Cambridge clinical course and through their electives.
In years 4-6, there is an increased focus on developing excellence in the skills required for good medical practice. During this phase, the Primary Care Unit delivers over a fifth of the curriculum, via the courses introduced below.
Primary care teaching and placements
Primary care and general practice teaching and all GP placements are organised and delivered by the General Practice Education Group (GPEG). Additionally, GPEG leads the medical humanities offer for student doctors.
Directed by Dr Richard Darnton, the group also contributes to the curriculum via its programme of innovation, evaluation and research in medical education.
The Professional Responsibilities Course is delivered by the Medical Professionalism Education Group (MPEG).
This course aims to ensure all students understand their professional, legal and ethical responsibilities, are equipped for lifelong learning and teaching, and are able to take an active role in promoting safety and quality in the health service.
The course is directed by Dr Elizabeth Fistein.
The Palliative Care course is run throughout the clinical years by the Palliative and End of Life Care Group (PELiCam).
This course prepares our medical students for their important role in caring for patients approaching and at the end of their lives, as junior doctors and throughout their careers.
The course is directed by Dr Stephen Barclay and Dr Anna Spathis, who also lead the group of PELiCam researchers.
The SSC, or Student Selected Component, is a six week placement in an area selected by students during Year 4.
Dr Juliet Usher-Smith coordinates SSC opportunities at the PCU.
A broad range of applied clinical research topics are available, as well as topics in selected GP practices through GPEG, in medical education with Dr Darnton, in medical law or medical ethics through MPEG and in Palliative Care through PELiCam.
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