University of Birmingham Medical Students

We have provided clinical placements to third, fourth and fifth year medical students from the University of Birmingham since 2005. Birmingham medical students on placement with us will be undertaking the MBChB in Medicine and Surgery. 

First and Second Year
Hospital Preparation Course

Every summer, we offer second year medical students the opportunity to spend two days familiarising themselves with Russells Hall Hospital and its surroundings, prior to commencing their third year placement.

Students are introduced to their allocated third year firms, which provides an opportunity to meet other members of the same group. We also provide access to the RGUC online learning platform, allowing students to view their teaching timetables and watch the eLearning resources.

We prepare a comprehensive programme aimed at helping students to get a feel of real hospital working life. This preparatory experience is designed to orientate students to the undergraduate department, as well as increasing their exposure to the clinical environment.

The course includes a brief introduction to the undergraduate team and information of what it is like to work in a hospital environment.

There are supervised tours of the hospital site and various departments. Students are encouraged to shadow junior doctors on the wards, allowing them their first opportunity to interact with patients.

Students also undertake supervised practical sessions on airway management, simulation and clinical equipment. For example, laparoscopic simulators, blood pressure machines, ophthalmoscopes, auroscopes, tendon hammers and tuning forks.

We end the course with a fun quiz, which has proven to be a great way for students to consolidate what they have learned and reflect on their experience over the two days.

Feedback for the preparation course has been rated as 4 or 5, (5 being the highest score) and the comments on the whole have been good and very positive.

Third Year Students

The third year programme is a broad based training programme for students in general medicine and surgical specialities, where they have the opportunity to learn history taking and diagnostic skills.

Semester One
The first three weeks of semester one provides students with an introductory period, during which they are on placement from Monday to Wednesday. During this time, the students’ mandatory basic teaching sessions are prioritised. These range from clinical skills and resuscitation to introductory lectures.

From week four, students are on placement Mondays to Thursdays, and their electronic timetables feature speciality teaching sessions and weekly bedside teaching from firm tutors and teachers.

In addition to this, the medical school’s Interactive Studies Unit visits the hospital and facilitates small group communication sessions over a two day period. These sessions assess and improve students’ communication skills in varying clinical situations whilst on placement.

Students are required to engage in a self-directed learning project (teamwork and leadership activity - TLA) which gives opportunities to study topics of interest in more depth. The project culminates in a presentation forum. The students are required to present in front of their firm and senior academy teacher at the end of the semester.

Semester Two
In semester two, mandatory teaching is delivered adjacent to other scheduled teaching sessions, to minimise the impact on students’ progress at the beginning of their placement. Students are individually timetabled to attend an ophthalmology clinic where they are given the opportunity to complete specific ophthalmic clinical skills. January is a very busy month for students, as not only are they required to complete their mandatory teaching, but they are also required to undertake their long case assessments with tutors/teachers within their first few weeks of placement.

Examples of timetabled activities are:

  • Study Half Days - All students are split into three groups and rotate every 40 minutes to see a different procedure on three topics within a speciality.

  • Lunchtime Lecture Programme - Covers topics determined by the medical school.

  • Case Presentations - All students from one firm every week present a case. The winners go forward to the Ron Grimley Awards.

  • Musculoskeletal Bedside Teaching Programme - Consultants and teaching fellows deliver bedside teaching sessions for each firm on five different topics over the semester.

  • Microbiology Lecture Programme - Three different topics are covered each semester.

  • Haematology Lecture Programme - Two different topics are covered each semester.

  • Pathology Lecture Programme - Four different topics are covered each semester.

  • 'Nurse for the Day’ - Each student will complete a full day nursing shift on the ward which exposes them to Interprofessional education.

  • 'Radiology Experience’ - Small groups of students visit the X-ray department to gain additional experience in angiography, vascular ultrasound and nuclear medicine.

  • Drop-in sessions that are available for students to sign up for include: Mortuary – an opportunity to observe a post mortem being performed. G.I. Unit – opportunity to see an endoscopy procedure.

Fourth Year Students

This 18 week block is divided into two 9 week rotations.  Each rotation consists of the following :

Speciality Medicine A

  • Cardiology
  • Elderly Care
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • Ophthalmology
  • GUM

Speciality Medicine B

  • Respiratory
  • Gastro-Liver
  • Renal
  • Oncology
  • Dermatology

This is a nine week block in which the students cover the largely surgical specialties of :

  • Perioperative care
  • Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)
  • Urology
  • Anaesthetics
  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopaedics (including a two week dedicated period at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital)

We give students the autonomy to plan their own timetable in order to achieve the required learning outcomes. Throughout each nine week rotation students will be offered :

  • Appropriate training to ensure the required skills are taught, as per the clinical procedural skills passport
  • Learning opportunities handbook detailing clinics, theatre lists and wards available to attend along with contact details
  • Weekly meetings with a senior academy tutor
  • At least four bedside teaching sessions (three for SPC students)
  • Guidance on where to achieve all the required observed practice
  • Consolidation weeks to revisit a speciality of interest for further study
  • Sign up for virtual case discussions
  • Attendance at interprofessional education simulation sessions, workshops & study days
  • Learning opportunities at Guest Hospital and Corbett Hospital
  • Regular student meetings

Fifth Year Students

Selected Career Experience

This three week ‘career experience’ in July provides the opportunity for students to shadow medical staff from a specialty of interest, increasing their exposure to the clinical environment and gaining further experience in an area of particular interest.

Year 5 Assistantship
The student assistantship is designed to allow students the opportunity to gain a fuller appreciation of the role of a foundation doctor, and to enable them to focus on areas of personal practice that require improvement. This is a four week placement, allowing approximately 30 students the opportunity to shadow a foundation year one doctor prior to becoming foundation year doctors themselves.

Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Paediatrics
Students are offered a five week placement on each of the two areas. The consultants provide a specialty timetable for the students at the beginning of the placement, designed to meet the curriculum outcomes. All students attend three ‘Academic In Days’ at the university throughout the five weeks.

Fifth Year OSCE Examinations
To reflect and support the new curriculum, the OSCEs are held at Russells Hall Hospital over four consecutive days each May.

From August to April each year, approximately 46 students undertake an AIP placement. There are 15 weeks in each rotation and the students are split into 13 areas:

  • Four in surgery
  • Four in medicine
  • Four in emergency department/emergency assessment unit (ED/EAU)
  • One within critical care/outreach

Students rotate each week in order to gain a full understanding of the experience of an acutely ill patient during their hospitalisation. For each of the 16 scenarios in the acutely ill patient curriculum there is a study guide, a face-to-face teaching session, and a simulation scenario. Each student is required to attend 15 simulation sessions during the rotation, and lead on at least one scenario. The group is split into teams to manage the scenario. As well as learning about clinical management, students are taught the use of communication tools such as ‘Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation’ (SBAR), the role of human factors, and how to engage in constructive debriefing using the advocacy inquire technique. The module lead is Dr Nicola Calthorpe, who has organised and developed the educational programme for the new curriculum.

Extensive feedback is obtained from all the teaching sessions and considered for quality assurance. This new curriculum has resulted in the development of templates for standardising the format of teaching provided, enabling us to undertake an audit of our teaching practice.

Other teaching activities included on the acutely ill patient placement timetables are:

  • Safe prescribing and discharge planning workshops
  • Prescribing session
  • ALERT (Advanced Local Emergency Response Team)
  • Intermediate life support  (ILS) intravenous clinical skills
  • Therapeutic drop in sessions
  • Interesting case meetings
  • Bereavement workshop
  • IT teaching programmes