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Early Learning in Medicine (Dunedin campus)

Te Aurorotanga

The MB ChB course begins with two years designated Early Learning in Medicine. The ELM curriculum includes three programme modules primarily delivered through small group tutorials: Clinical Skills, Early Professional Experience and Integrated Cases. Medical Sciences including anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and behavioural science are taught via lectures, labs and small group tutorials. Students work in tutorial groups of around ten students led by Teaching Fellows/Professional Practice Fellows and part-time tutors from the staff of the School of Biomedical Sciences and Dunedin School of Medicine.

  • Clinical Skills tutorials involve instruction in basic clinical skills and doctor-patient skills using the students themselves, actors and volunteer patients from the community for medical history taking and limited physical examination.
  • Integrated Cases tutorials combine tutor-led, independent group and independent learning for each topic.
  • Early Professional Experience (EPE) encompasses topics to help students understand the role and responsibilities of the doctor in practice. It includes students spending time in a variety of the healthcare environments that they may experience as doctors and meeting new patients.
  • Medical Sciences learning takes place in block modules based around body systems. The course is designed so each block module of lectures, labs and tutorials intersects with the cases, clinical skills and EPE learning.
  • Vertical modules throughout the two years provide ongoing learning in important areas of medical practice like professional development, ethics and evidence-based medicine.

All tutorials emphasise an active small group collaborative working environment; this occupies about 15% of student learning time. ELM students spend just under half their time in formal teaching situations (lectures, labs), with the remaining 40% of time allocated for independent (non-contact) learning. The aim is to model future working practice that balances working in teams with the ability to self-manage learning.

From early in the course, students will have contact with patients, on campus and in the patient communities, around Dunedin and during Community Contact Week, around the country.

Class division

Halfway through Year 3, the class is divided into approximate thirds for Years 4-6, according to student preference of campus where possible and otherwise by ballot. The School will confirm each student's destination well before the end of the year.

Early learning in Medicine Purpose Statement / Kaupapa

The purpose of the Early Learning in Medicine programme is to build on the students’ prior learning and develop, for a further two years, the scientific foundations of medical practice and to begin the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for professional practice.

Specifically it aims to:

  1. Lay the foundations of basic sciences on which medical practice resides/relies and facilitate this learning by explicitly identifying the clinical relevance and contexts in which this knowledge will be applied safely in clinical practice.
  2. Introduce clinical skills to give context and relevance to the medical sciences and to enable the application of medical sciences to clinical practice.
  3. Establish the foundations of understanding the broad social and cultural concepts and contexts of medical practice and systems of healthcare.
  4. Establish an appreciation of the patient as a unique person and partner in health care.
  5. Begin the students’ professional identity formation and understanding of professionalism.
  6. Establish habits of life-long learning, including both independent self-directed learning and collaborative learning.
  7. Introduce the knowledge and skills of critical thinking and reflection required for clinical practice.

Our people at the Centre for Early Learning in Medicine (CELM)