The Launceston Clinical School (LCS) is co-located in the state-of-the-art, purpose-built Northern Area Health Service, Launceston General Hospital.
The focus of the LCS is on ensuring students have every opportunity to reach their maximal potential as future doctors equipped to contribute meaningfully in their own communities and in the national and international arenas. The School receives an annual intake of approximately 100 students studying across years 4 and 5 of the medical course.
The LCS invests heavily in the valuable community partnerships that underpin students' learning in evidenced-based science, patient-centred care, social responsibility and vocational professionalism.
Students in the LCS have access to a wide range of programs that craft and refine their knowledge, consultative skills and procedural competency.
Key to the success of our students' educational experiences is an energetic and professional staff fully committed to challenging, extending and supporting them in their professional lives: the critically important Administration "front of house"; our clinical academics; our tutors in the hospital and the community; our engaged teaching Alumni who offer exceptional peer support and guidance; and the patients who so generously share their stories and their learning.
The Launceston Clinical School, in collaboration with Nursing and Midwifery, has developed a unique Simulation program. The program involves immersive simulation in Emergency Medicine using state-of-the art facilities at the University's Newnham campus. Led by Dr Toby Gardner and Dr Paul Hanson, students spend the first six months of their final clinical years acquiring competency in part-task training (airway management, CPR, etc.) before engaging in high fidelity scenarios in standardised Emergency Room resuscitation bays with 3G SimMan mannequins.
All students undertake at least five discrete sessions in immersive simulation before graduation, from Advanced Life Support (ALS) algorithm-based simulation to more complex multi-system presentations. Student feedback over the last five years has been of universal acclaim.
Since 2005, the Patient Partner Program (P3) has provided a learning platform for senior medical students to acquire and develop integrated consulting skills through the promotion of a patient-centred ethos at the Launceston Clinical School.
The suite of P3 initiatives demonstrates innovation in curricula, learning and teaching in a method counter and complementary to traditional models of acute hospital-based teaching curriculum. They are facilitated through genuine engagement and partnerships with community-based patients to enhance students' formative learning of patient-centred health management. By partnering weekly with real, volunteer ‘Patient Partners’ with chronic illness, students have greater opportunity for exposure to, and understanding of primary care in a rich social context.
Emerging doctors must be adequately equipped with patient-centred health management capabilities to deal with Australia's changing health contexts, particularly in the face of an ageing population and chronic illness burden. P3 offers a relevant and effective method for the development of these specific professional skills.
The P3 approach promotes systematic coordination, continual program development and a robust engagement with the scholarship of medical education. The program demonstrates sustained effectiveness with widespread benefits to the broader community and significant impacts beyond the University to other Australian medical schools.
The therapeutics program focuses on general practice or primary care patient management, linking teaching and clinical practice. The learning program aims to:
Medication use plays a vital part in patient management and, despite obvious benefits, can also have the potential to cause harm. Alongside classroom-based teaching and electronic sources of learning, our year 4 medical students also participate in an innovative activity involving patients from the Summerdale Medical Centre. The medical students are escorted in pairs to visit identified and consenting patients to discuss their health and medication management. These patients become highly valued participants in our teaching program and most participate on a yearly basis. Learning in the ambulatory environment adds another dimension to the teaching program and results in an improved awareness of real life patient issues by our medical students.
At the Launceston Clinical School, we understand that one of the current challenges in the field of health education is to provide students with the ability to link basic science to clinical practice in an evidence-based manner. The practice of evidence-based medicine relies on an understanding of the principles of generating empirical evidence and the ability to critically appraise evidence, in order that research can be interpreted and applied to a clinical circumstance. Additionally, the requirement of clinicians to actively audit and/or research their own practice is becoming an imperative in providing quality health care.
We seek to engender these principles and skills within our students by providing them with the opportunity to engage in research during their two years with us. This is achieved through a variety of mechanisms including:
All students are expected to show evidence of research activity in their portfolio, with a level of flexibility depending on the research that they have chosen to engage in. Students are supported by our Senior Research Fellow in identifying a project and at every stage of the conduct of the research. We understand that research is often a lengthy process, and we are able to continue supporting students beyond their time with us to completion.
In addition to a current focus on undergraduate research by the Medical Deans of Australian and New Zealand, the benefits of acquiring research skills at an early stage are increasingly being recognised by industry. The demonstration of research activities is key to success in training program entry applications.
GP MAGIC was established in 2010 as a joint initiative between the UTAS Medicine's Discipline of General Practice (UTAS-GP) and General Practice Education and Training's Tasmanian regional training provider General Practice Training Tasmania (GPTT).
The demand for general practice delivered care in Australia is greater than supply and, with the ageing of the Australian population, is set to increase even further. General practitioners (GPs) are ageing along with their patients with a high chance their retirement will lead to an exacerbation of the current general practitioner shortage. Medical graduates need to train as general practitioners to replace the ageing GP workforce. The general practice team is also expanding to provide integrated, team-based care for patients with many more nurses working in general practice than a decade ago. This trend needs to increase as the demand for team-based care increases.
Enhancing the learning experience offered by general practices is a major part of GP MAGIC's vision. Learners range from the undergraduate through to postgraduate and across disciplines from medicine, to nursing, to allied health, practice management and beyond.
GP MAGIC hopes to increase the number of learners, skilled teachers and teaching practices that are currently engaged with the education and training of the future Tasmanian general practice team.
Best quality teaching of primary health care professionals within Tasmanian General Practice leading to optimal health outcomes for Tasmanians.
The following projects are currently being funded by Health Workforce Australia:
Undergraduate medical students, clinical and professional staff establish their own digital habitat that integrates chosen technologies into their workflows. The purpose is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in learning and teaching and grow digital literacy, thus preparing students and staff for their future as health professionals.
Students participate in clinical audit of patient records during their 4th-year General Practice rotation at the Launceston Clinical School. Findings are discussed with their GP supervisor. Preliminary findings are that Practices' report this activity has led to positive patient outcomes. It has also increased practices' ability to offer more clinical supervision hours to medical students. Several research topics related to audit methodology have been developed for potential 2013 honors students. Other smaller projects will be offered to the 2013-14 cohorts of Launceston Clinical School students who are expected to undertake a research project in their final 2 years.
Assoc Prof Jan Radford, Mrs Anne Todd, and Dr Emily Mauldon.
Students at the Launceston Clinical School are required to undertake a research project during their senior years. The intent of this activity is to map formal exposure to research training within the undergraduate curriculum, identify gaps and provide resources to enable students to strengthen their research skills across a range of methodologies.
For senior medical students, this sub-project is an Australian first seeing final year medical students placed for a week in a Residential Aged Care Facility in Launceston. The successful 2011 experience of 20 students is being built upon to enhance the inter-professional learning aspects of the placement in 2012.
Assoc Prof Jan Radford, Dr Jane Fuller, Dr Paul Hanson, Mr Stuart Guest.
Authorised by the Associate Head of Medicine
26 November, 2012