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    The philosophical basis of medical practice; doctors and their relationship in the delivery of medical care. Reflective practice and the incorporation of theory into day-to-day medical work.

    This paper explores the role of doctors and their therapeutic relationships in the delivery of medical care. It is based on reflective practice and the translation of biomedical theory to day-to-day medical work. Outcomes are increased confidence and competence in clinical practice.

    There are three compulsory face-to-face weekend 'residentials' over the course of the year and eight modules of study. Topics include the history and culture of modern medicine, the doctor-patient relationship, consultation studies, self-care of the doctor, the illness experience or world of the patient and the role of general practice in health care delivery. It is an exciting and rewarding year of study with colleagues.

    About this paper

    Paper title Nature of Medical Practice
    Subject General Practice
    EFTS 0.25
    Points 30 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $3,103.25
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GENX 820
    Limited to
    PGCertGP, PGCertPHC, PGDipGP, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPHC, PGDipRPHP, MHealSc
    Suitable for medical qualifications only.
    Teaching staff

    To be confirmed

    Paper Structure

    This paper comprises eight learning modules:

    • Who am I as a doctor?
    • The illness experience and world of the patient
    • The history and culture of modern medicine
    • The doctor-patient relationship
    • Challenges within the doctor patient relationship
    • The place of general practice in primary health care
    • Self care and the self of the doctor
    • 'Being wise' in modern medical practice
    Teaching Arrangements

    This paper is distance taught. There are three compulsory residentials during the year, videoconferences for each module and three written assignments.


    Required: Wilson H & Cunningham W. Being a Doctor: Understanding Medical Practice. 2013. Otago University Press; Dunedin

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will have

    • A renewed sense of direction and purpose in medicine.
    • Better understanding of the strengths and limitations of modern clinical method, allowing more flexibility in day to day clinical practice.
    • Increased skill in working with 'difficult' patients resulting in fewer 'heart-sink' moments.
    • Increased ability to review and reflect on a wide range of challenges within clinical practice.
    • An improved ability to contribute critically to medico-political discussions.
    • Better understanding of one's own career choices.
    • A greater sense of collegiality with others.


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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