Imperial’s Undergraduate Primary Care Education team is composed of over thirty staff, trainees and students led by Dr Sonia Kumar. It delivers over twelve courses across the medical degree. The team’s vision is to make a transformational, socially accountable difference to students, patients and communities.
The team is divided into three educational Communities of Practice, ‘eCoPs’, each with diverse membership including educators, students, administrators, managers and clinical academics. These eCoPs meet regularly, exploring their educational work together to guide course development and research.
Impact of work
The collaborative eCoP structure has significantly impacted on development of a team growth mind-set and peer-supported team interactions. The ability to translate vision into practice through the eCoPs has been instrumental to the team’s outputs. They have developed numerous innovative courses incorporating real-world projects, drawing on a range of pedagogies including service, longitudinal and transformational learning.
Service learning - the Community Action Project. Students work with their GP practice and local stakeholders including patient and charity groups to identify and address a community need. Students are peer-assessed on areas such as needs analysis, delivery of an intervention, evaluation, sustainability, creativity and leadership. Evaluation highlighted increased student motivation, awareness of population needs and the value of partnership working.
Longitudinal Learning - through the Integrated Clinical Apprenticeship: Students actively follow and work with a patient caseload throughout the year, with weekly tutorials alongside their traditional undergraduate medical curriculum. Research found impacts of this approach on students’ professional values and skills including development of empathy, tolerance of uncertainty and preparation to practice as a doctor.
Transformational learning - through Coaching Skills Training for Educators and Students. Educators are trained in coaching skills to support students in difficulty, promote effective approaches to studying and develop inclusive group facilitation skills. The coaching training for students nurtured an ability to hold empowering conversations with patients, and develop an inclusive patient-centred mind-set.
Plans for the future
The team’s vision and creative approach has catalysed an important symbiosis to emerge between students acting as agents of social change, and patients acting as the authentic living curriculum for our future doctors.