Year 1 of the MBChB program lays the knowledge and skills foundations that the later years will build upon. The core curriculum teaches about the normal function of the body. Students are presented with learning opportunities in Science and scholarship, The Good Doctor, Core Skills, Patient in Secondary Care, Patient in the Community Setting. Year 1 is also designed to introduce students as adult learning in a higher education environment, to develop independent study skills and to establish concepts associated with professionalism.
The course is based around a block structure driven primarily by the Science of Medicine themed content. This comprises an initial six-week “Foundation block” or core underpinning content that is relevant to all other systems, followed by seven three-week blocks focused on each body system in turn. Although these appear as discrete entities, we encourage the students to take a holistic approach to their learning and identify how the systems combine to form the functioning body. Teaching spans from molecules to the whole body including basic genetics, protein biology, biochemistry, cell biology, anatomy and as well as tissue and organ-level physiology.
During each block, students engage with Science of Medicine information delivery content (lectures) which are supported by interactive seminar-style teaching sessions, contextually-relevant anatomy sessions and case-based-learning sessions where core physiology/science content is discussed using clinically relevant examples. These sessions provide an important grounding of how the medical sciences underpin clinical practice. Students also undertake a research and scholarship project, providing an early glimpse into how research continues to change the face of medical practice. Students receive feedback throughout their study progress through end-of-block assessment for learning formative exam papers, and through reflection with their academic advisors and with peer mentors.
Running in parallel throughout the year, students engage with teaching from each of the other themes. One of the highlights of the Liverpool curriculum is our emphasis on the skills required to become a Good Doctor. We teach to the sociology and psychology of medicine and medical practice, public, preventative and global health, research studies and methodology, as well as personal development and ethical practice related to professionalism. We introduce core concepts in therapeutics and prescribing. Hands-on skills are developed through small-group clinical skills teaching sessions. Formal training in clinical and communication skills is provided by communication for clinical practice sessions run small group sessions with formative reflections. We run a leadership training exercise with help from the Army medical corp. at Altcar, and students undertake short health in the community placements. It is a diverse curriculum that provide our student doctors with exposure to the many facets of a modern physician.
In term of content delivery, Year 1 has a hybrid curriculum that combines online recorded pre-sessional material and face-to-face delivery of live teaching. This design reflects student feedback from recent years where the flexibility afforded by setting ones own timetable to process material is valued highly while simultaneously providing face to face teaching in areas where interaction and discussion enhance the learning potential.
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