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Photos of students who were interviewed
Students interviewed about how to make the most of clinical placements

Written by Julian Hancock, Academic Lead for Undergraduate GP Teaching in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

In 2021, Nuffield Oxford Hospitals Fund (NOHF) provided funding to the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Group to produce a bank of educational films which have significantly enhanced the teaching of medical students. The films have proved effective learning resources, both in online and face-to-face settings.

The grant enabled our team to work together with a local professional film-maker to create high-quality video material. The films have been embedded in innovative, interactive modules hosted on Canvas (the university’s virtual learning environment), which have received very positive feedback from students. The new material has also been used in live lectures and small-group teaching sessions.  

The filmed resources are particularly targeted at Year 4 and Graduate Entry 2 students, who are at the start of their clinical training. Though very relevant to primary care, the films are valuable to students’ clinical studies across hospital and community settings. Indeed, one of the aims of this project was to reduce the teaching burden on hospital colleagues.

We focussed on two important areas of learning with these films, which we identified as under-represented in existing clinical teaching resources:

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Clinical skills, universally applicable in hospital and GP settings

Student involvement in the filming process (both behind and in front of the camera) was key to producing relevant and engaging material.

Social Determinants of Health

This is an important topic for our undergraduate students and one which is increasingly pertinent in our current social and economic climate. The GMC also emphasises that it should be given more attention in medical courses. However, without the generosity of NOHF we would not have been able to resource this area of teaching so promptly or thoroughly.

We created short films designed to stimulate students to consider the socioeconomic reasons why patients might struggle to access healthcare. To do this in the most powerful way, we recorded patients’ own narratives in interviews conducted by medical students.

The recorded stories cover a wide range of social experience. For example, we heard from a patient who lives on benefits and has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He described his struggle to articulate his considerable needs in face-to-face or phone encounters with health professionals, leading to frustration and anger. He now communicates with his GP via email, which is an effective solution for him.

We also produced material examining language as a barrier to accessing healthcare. We filmed professional interpreters performing role-play scenarios, which are intended to help students understand the skills required to conduct interpreted consultations. The interpreters were then interviewed by medical students about their role and their training.

Students operating the camera and interviewing professional interpretersStudents operating the camera and interviewing professional interpreters

Professional interpreters being filmed performing educational role-play scenariosProfessional interpreters being filmed performing educational role-play scenarios


Clinical Skills

The second target for this filming project was the clinical skills course which takes place at the beginning of Year 4. Dubbed the “Patient Doctor II” course, it is when students learn core skills in history, examination and communication at the start of their clinical training. Students develop these skills from seeing patients in both Primary Care and hospital settings.

We created an online module about the important relationship between primary and secondary care. We filmed a GP and consultant physician in conversation, discussing the skills required for effective communication between the two healthcare settings. Clips of this conversation form part of the module, alongside reading material and interactive activities.

A final further set of short films are some wonderfully dynamic interviews with medical students about how to make the most of placements in primary care, in terms of acquisition of knowledge, clinical experience and skills.