During third year, the MB ChB class is split in three, with slightly under a third becoming students of the Dunedin School of Medicine, and the others split between University of Otago, Christchurch and University of Otago, Wellington.
Over the next three years, students will learn through clinical exposure to patients across a wide range of sites and medical disciplines. Groups of students will rotate through specific context-based block modules in hospital, community, in-patient and out-patient settings, both urban and rural. Students may also apply to spend their fifth year in the Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP), which entails being part of a small group based in one of six rural centres.
Students spend around three-quarters of their time gaining clinical experience, with the rest of the time spent in supplementary lectures and tutorials, including vertical module topics such as ethics, microbiology and pathology.
Year 4 introduces students to a full clinical environment. Each campus divides students into smaller groups which rotate around a variety of disciplines. These attachments provide practical exposure to a range of specialties within these areas, such as geriatric medicine. All students cover the same curriculum content, which is delivered according to the specific campus arrangements. Each campus also delivers a vertical curriculum alongside the clinical learning. Year 4 is assessed within modules, with no end-of-year exam common to all campuses; the progressive learning of Year 4 may be included in the Year 5 examinations.
Medical students spend their fifth year consolidating the development of the previous years. Expectations correspond with their greater familiarity of the clinical environments, with further exposure to other medical disciplines and contexts. A small number of students may choose to spend their fifth year based in a rural centre as part of the Rural Medical Immersion Programme.
As well as ongoing assessment within modules, there is a major assessment at the end of the year, with written exams and OSCEs common to all schools.
Year 6 (trainee intern year)
The final year of the medical degree is based on the apprenticeship model of learning. Its purpose is to introduce students in a gradual manner to full responsibility for patient care, in a variety of medical disciplines and practice environments, while still under continued academic supervision. The role of the trainee intern is that of an increasingly responsible member of the clinical team.
By the end of the TI year, students should be able to
- contribute to safe and effective patient care with the level of support available to first year doctors; and
- demonstrate professional and personal attributes (as listed in the graduate profile) to enable them to develop and maintain successful careers in medical practice.
The following overarching goals apply:
- Consolidate, synthesise and apply knowledge of health care and health care systems to a broad range of acute and longer term illnesses and patient presentations.
- Recognise and initiate management of the acutely unwell patient.
- Function competently as a member of an inpatient or primary care based health care team.
- Function competently as a member of an ambulatory patient based health care team.
Professionalism and ongoing learning
- Pursue in greater depth an area of medical practice, medical education or research, of personal interest to the student.
- Demonstrate further development of professional attitudes and behaviour.
- Engage in continuing professional development.
Trainee Interns reach these goals through experience mostly in clinical situations on and off campus. The year is divided into quarters, one of which is an elective undertaken outside the prescribed course structure in an area of individual professional interest. Most TIs will also spend time away from their base campus in one of the smaller hospitals in their region: Invercargill or Timaru; Nelson; Palmerston North or Hawke's Bay. (Some may also spend their full TI year, elective aside, at one of these hospitals.) Most trainee interns receive a training grant (or stipend), which they are expected to use towards meeting travel and accommodation costs related to their course taking place in dispersed locations. Graduation depends on successful completion of module assessments.