MBBS Curriculum Review – why and how you should get involved

In response to an ever-changing landscape for medical education, Imperial College School of Medicine is undertaking a major curriculum review covering all aspects of our undergraduate medical programme.

If you’d be interested in being involved in delivering the new curriculum in any capacity or any of the below descriptions applies to you, or if you’d be interested in providing a research experience for the Clinical Research and Innovation module, please get in touch with the Curriculum Review team on curriculumreview@imperial.ac.uk.

New drivers for change

The School’s current six-year course is mainly science-focused in the early years (1&2), followed by three clinical years with a return to science in Year 4, where students obtain their BSc. We are proud of our focus on the scientific underpinning of medicine, which will remain in the new curriculum; however, new drivers for change have emerged for medical education in the UK.

The NHS is facing unprecedented pressure and is seeking to train more doctors to work as generalists in community settings, alongside a new, nationwide Medical Licensing Assessment proposed by the GMC. Developments in technology have put more knowledge than ever at our fingertips, and we are now educating students who are used to accessing information at the touch of a button. Technology has also given rise to innovative teaching approaches and different modalities of delivering curricula.

Teaching underpins everything

We will need to make structural changes to our course to better prepare our students, but underpinning everything we do is our teaching. Sometimes forgotten in the excitement of Imperial’s research reputation, our teachers and our teaching are vital to the success of both our current and future curriculums. We have incredible teachers, and many of them are already driving our review. Their expertise in both course content and in teaching itself will ensure the successful development, implementation and rollout of the new course.

The proposed new curriculum is structured into three phases. Each has as an overall goal and outline, and will have professional knowledge, professional skills and professional values and behaviours interwoven through all teaching. We aim to run science and clinical skills and knowledge in parallel rather than moving back and forth between them, to create an even more solid foundation for our students to build their future careers on, whichever path they choose.

Our phase development teams have been researching new pedagogy and digital innovation, while reviewing the content and structure, to see how we can best deliver knowledge to our students, in new ways and through new media.

Diverse experiences are needed to drive progress

The developments are already coming thick and fast, with our current second-year students recently completing the first Clinical Research and Innovation module. They travelled around the UK and the world to carry out research projects in a wide variety of settings, building networks and learning to work in teams. Projects covered everything from studying links between mobile technology and healthcare through to community healthcare in Wales, Thailand, Nepal and Nigeria. This real, on-the-ground experience and the research skills they gain with remain with them throughout the course and may even influence their direction later on as clinicians or researchers.

Teaching is an art but it, too, is consistently evolving. To develop and deliver our new curriculum to its full potential, and to prepare our students, it is becoming increasingly necessary to redefine our notion of a ‘teacher’. We will always need our lecturers and our clinicians. We will also need digital specialists. We will need app developers. We will need teachers with a background in the NHS, working in or with NHS Trusts. We need teachers who understand what it is to be a patient. We need higher education expertise, and teachers who want to focus on their research alongside their teaching to make sure that what they teach is at the forefront of its field.

You can get in touch with the Curriculum Review team on curriculumreview@imperial.ac.uk can keep up with all the developments in the Review on the webpages: imperial.ac.uk/medicine/study/undergraduate/curriculumreview.

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