Two final-year Imperial medical students have been acknowledged jointly by the General Medical Council and the Medical Schools Council for their design of a teaching session on professionalism.
Sixth-year MBBS students, Luke Reader and Sam Easdon, created a lesson plan which aims to ‘introduce students to a discussion on honesty and integrity in interactions with peers, colleagues and patients’.
Initially shortlisted, the two were then awarded a runner-up position, claiming one of the top spots from the 97 overall entries to this year’s competition.
The lesson suggests beginning by asking students, ‘What is honesty and integrity to you?’, and facilitating a discussion encouraging students to reflect on their personal definitions of these themes.
To support this dialogue, the students created a ‘live simulation’ of text message conversations between hypothetical students in a medical community, discussing a recent incident.
Highlighting the importance of professional behaviour, the conversation draws attention to the detrimental effect of ‘gossip’ and the subtle differences between a lack of honesty and a lack of integrity. The students are asked to consider those themes, as well as to examine the possible impact of personal values on patient care.
The lesson plan then expands to include discussion of ‘uncertainty’, and asks the students to consider and recognise how acting with honesty and integrity can help when approaching difficult situations.
Presented with four complex scenarios, the class is asked to decide where on a scale of ‘acting with honesty and integrity’ to ‘not acting with honesty and integrity’ the character in each scenario belongs – illustrating the ‘thin red line’ between the two ends of the scale – deciding whether there can be a ‘correct’ response to the situation.
Entrants for the 2016 teaching resource competition were able to choose from any aspect of the GMC’s ‘Achieving Good Medical Practice’ guidance, but this year the judges requested submissions based specifically on the themes of honesty and integrity, and examination of why these qualities are important for future doctors.
Sam, who has just completed a primary care placement, and Luke, currently on an endocrinology placement at Northwick Park Hospital, recommend taking part in this competition to any student, as professionalism is a key part of practising medicine, and describe the experience a ‘valuable way to learn both about professionalism and about teaching’.