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The main focus of Year 4 (the first clinical year) is on skills for effective clinical practice. An initial rotation in hospital and general practice, Patient/Doctor II, builds on the earlier Patient/Doctor I course, to ensure students have acquired sufficient level of skill in history, examination, communication and practical skills to allow them to proceed to clinical placements. The Laboratory Medicine course provides a foundation in pathology, investigative medicine and the knowledge base of clinical medicine. Students then proceed to core rotations in medicine and surgery. Integrated with the core rotations are cross-curricular courses in communication skills, ethics, law and professionalism, clinical pharmacology, radiology, evidence-based medicine and sexual health. By the end of Year 4, students are expected to have reached competence in history, examination and procedural skills, as well as to have been introduced to principles of care and management. The year includes a special study module in which students pursue interests outside the core. Students will be provided with access to an online portfolio in which to record their learning activities and achievements.

Please note that the course structure below relates to the current curriculum and may be subject to change, in line with the GMCs 'Outcomes for Graduates' standards guidance.  Click here to go to GMC website and view 'Outcomes for Graduates'.

Patient Doctor II 2 (weeks)

The Patient Doctor II course provides an introduction to clinical medicine and to the experience and methods of learning within a clinical environment at the beginning of year 4.  Each student also attends sessions on basic life support, manual handling, ethics and law and communication skills.

GP attachment (1 week)

The general practice residential attachment occurs during the six week foundation course at the beginning of year 4 of the medical course. Students will attend a general practice somewhere in the UK from Monday to Friday and most will be accommodated with a GP or another practice member. The attachment gives students an understanding of the work of the general practitioner and the primary health care team and students visit a patient or family in their own home. They practise clinical skills with real patients and consider the impact of social, emotional and environmental factors on the patient and on illness.

Laboratory Medicine (9 weeks)

The Laboratory Medicine course provides a foundation in pathology, investigative medicine and the knowledge base of clinical medicine. Students then proceed to core rotations in medicine and surgery. 

Medicine (6 weeks)

Students will learn the basic techniques and principles of medical diagnosis and management, learning how to communicate effectively with patients and relatives, take an accurate history, perform a physical examination, presenting findings and a summary of the case, formulate differential diagnosis and be competent at the basic principles of treatment, and develop their clinical and practical skills.

Surgery (6 weeks)

In groups of 4, students will be attached to two specialties for three weeks each and will be allocated a tutor offering weekly bedside teaching.  The course includes practical skills, oncology, evidence based surgical practice, patient safety teaching sessions and case based learning.   A weekly lecture course covers the core curriculum and a sign up system is in operation to cover emergency admissions.

District General Hospital Attachment in Medicine & Surgery (6 weeks)

Students spend 6 weeks in a District General Hospital studying medicine and surgery.  These hospitals are located in Buckingham, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Reading and Swindon. 

Special Study Module (4 weeks)

Students may choose from over forty modules grouped into five themes: Medical Humanities, Chronic Diseases, Global, public and community health, Health care management, publishing and information and Clinical and basic research.  Students may also design their own UK based modules with the approval of the Director of Clinical Studies. Year 4 SSMs may not be undertaken abroad. In collaboration with supervisors, students set learning objectives and assessment criteria. All students submit a poster and give a brief oral summary of their project work supported by a PowerPoint presentation.

Cross Curricular Course (2 weeks)

Integrated with the core rotations are cross curricular themes in communication skills, ethics, law and professionalism, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, radiology, evidence-based medicine and sexual health.