The undergraduate degree in Medicine in Trinity College Dublin is a 5-year programme which is accredited by the Irish Medical Council in accordance with the guidelines set by the World Federation of Medical Education.
Structure & Composition
The programme recognises the doctor as a scholar, a scientist, a practitioner and a professional . The curriculum content and sequencing is designed with this in mind, with opportunities for students to learn and explore the most recent developments in biomedical sciences, clinical practice and professionalism.
The curriculum content in each phase/year develops one of the following domains:
- Biomedical & Clinical Sciences
- Integrated Clinical Science & Practice
- Professional Development & Clinical Competency
- Student Options for Research and Elective Practice
The integration of domains across each year
The table illustrates the vertical and horizontal integration that has been achieved in the programme. For example the Professional Development domain extends over the 5 years becoming more sophisticated at each level.
|Humanity, Health & Environment||Molecular Medicine, Neuroscience, Clinical Skills & Mechanisms & Management of Disease||Patient Centred Evidence-Based Medical Practice & Professional Development|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5|
|Biomedical & Clinical Sciences (ECTS = 90)||Human Form & Function||30||Principles of Pharmacology & Practical Scientific Research *||10|
|Evolution & Life||10||Infection & Immunity||5|
|Head & Neck Anatomy||5|
|Molecular Mechanism of Disease and Personalised Medicine||10|
|Integrated Clinical Science & Practice (ECTS = 125)||Pharmacology & Therapeutics||5||Obstetrics & Gynaecology||10||Integrated Medical Science & Practice||20|
|Laboratory & Investigative Medicine (Path & Micro)||10||Public Health, Primary Care & Epidemiology||10|
|Principles of Medical and Surgical Practice||25||Principles & Practice of Psychiatry||10||Integrated Surgical Science & Practice||20|
|ENT and Ophthalmology||5||Paediatrics & Child Health||10|
|Professional Development & Clinical Competency
(ECTS = 60)
|Human Development, Behavioural Science & Ethics||15||Fundamentals of Clinical & Professional Practice||10||Advanced Clinical & Professional Practice||10||Jurisprudence Ethics & Law||5||Competency Based Preparation for Practice||10|
|Professionalism & Scientific Method||10|
|Student Options for Research and Elective Practice (ECTS = 25)||Science & the Humanities||5||Practical Scientific Research *(ECTS as above)||Principles & Practice of Evidence Based Medicine & Elective Practice 1||5||Elective Practice 2||5||Elective Practice||10|
In addition, it is recognised that it is vital to develop learning skills throughout the programme and as students transition from the novice to practitioner there is a progressive development of the following 5 domains:
- Biomedical Sciences
- Clinical sciences & Practice
- Research Skills
- Lifelong Learning
Teaching and Learning
In order to deliver opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours required by a graduate doctor, there are many different methodologies used. When teaching knowledge, we use a variety of methods, with the goal of getting the learner to actively engage in learning the material.
When teaching skills, we recognise the need to demonstrate the skill, supervise the student doing the skill, and later, when a degree of confidence and competence has been obtained, monitor how the skill is being performed in practice and provide feedback. Competences are initially taught in a safe and supported environment such as a clinical skills lab, and later students progress to the real life clinical settings. When teaching about attitudes, we use methods that require the application of the attitude and values in particular relevant situations, followed by reasoned discussions and a time for reflection, through the use of expert plenaries, workshops and a reflective assignment.
In the early years, through the use of logbooks and learning logs, students describe their learning experiences, their strengths, and areas that require improvements. Students are responsible for identifying their own learning needs and are assisted in the process through appropriate Tutor/mentor feedback. There are a range of instructional techniques used such as lectures, problem based learning, clinical skills tutorials, simulations, workshops, case based discussion and conference formats, project work, research supervision, self-directed learning, clinical work and experiential learning.
|Instructional methods within the TCD curriculum|
|Clinical Context||Small Group, Active||Reflection||Expert||Elective|
|Year 1||Family Case Study||Problem Based Learning||Self, Tutor Assessment||Lectures||Humanities|
|Year 2||Clinical Skills, Hospital based||Clinical Skills, Research Project, Ethics Debates||Logbook||Lectures||Research Project|
|Year 3||Clinical Placements||Bedside & Clinical Tutorials, Psychology Applied to Medicine||Logbook, Reflective Log||Lectures||Elective, Evidence Based Medicine|
|Year 4||Clinical Placements||Bedside & Clinical Tutorials||Video Reflection||Lectures||Elective|
|Year 5||Clinical Placements, Consultant Clinics, Intern Shadowing||Bedside & Clinical Tutorials||Lectures, Consultant Clinics||Elective, Consultant Teaching, Placement|
We recognise that assessment has a strong influence on student learning. A founding principle of curriculum design is that the learning outcomes, content, instructional methods and assessments should be aligned appropriately. In the undergraduate degree in Medicine, assessment is never considered in isolation but as an integral component of the learning process. We are cognisant that assessment drives learning through a variety of means.
|Assessment is used to:||Type:|
|• decide who progresses or qualifies from the course||summative|
|• provide feedback on performance||formative|
|• to identify the individual learner's strengths and future learning needs||formative|
|• to provide information regarding the overall quality of a module||evaluation|
The spiral curriculum model that has been adopted for curriculum design is also the basis for the design of assessment practices. The assessment methods used for each year takes into account the knowledge level of the student, the degree of clinical competence and professional development appropriate to the stage of training.
For example, the clinical component of the curriculum becomes more sophisticated as a student progresses through each year; therefore the clinical assessment practices reflect this increased degree of complexity, moving from logbooks to OSCE to modified long case assessment. Similarly, clinical reasoning skills which become more developed are assessed by MCQ initially and EMQ in later phases.
Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the assessment progression through Years 1 to 5 for the knowledge and skills domains of the course. Attitudes which are more difficult to measure are mainly assessed by observation of behaviour and recorded as part of the log books and as part of consultant sign off. They can also be explored on a one to one basis through elements such as the clinical reflection or using validated questionnaires.