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Undergraduate Teaching in the Department of Medicine

This page is about the Department of Medicine contribution to the University of Otago medical degree.

Learn more about the University of Otago medical degree

The Department of Medicine provides the following undergraduate teaching:

Fourth Year teaching

This ten-week module emphasises Clinical Skills, mainly at Hutt Hospital (Link to the Hutt Valley District Health Board), and Medical Specialties, mainly at Wellington Hospital (Link to the Capital & Coast District Health Board).

  • Clinical Skills

Five weeks are spent attached to clinical teams at Hutt Hospital. Students see and examine patients and learn to write case histories. This includes acutely ill patients in the emergency department and after admission through the Medical Assessment and Planning Unit at Hutt Hospital.

  • Medical Specialties

Five weeks are spent with clinical and tutorial based teaching in Gastroenterology, Neurology, Endocrine, and Geriatric Medicine.

The gastrointestinal curriculum enables students to recognise, investigate and manage patients with gastrointestinal disease. These skills will be based on an understanding of the pathophysiology underlying gastrointestinal disease processes as well as seeing patients with these disorders.

Neurology teaching provides clinical experience with ambulatory patients. It emphasises history-taking and examination skills; and the integration of information obtained with a knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology to produce a working diagnosis. The teaching concentrates on disorders which are clinically significant because they are either common, or treatable with serious consequences if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Strategies for lifelong learning are encouraged.

For endocrinology, the emphasis will be on thyroid, adrenal, pituitary disease and diabetes. Tutorials will revise material from the years two and three as well as covering pathophysiology of symptoms, investigation, and treatment of disease.

For geriatric medicine, the objectives are that you will be understand important parts of the history and physical examination relevant to older adults; and describe and classify specific features of medicine in the older adult, including mental health, and to write up a case history of an older adult in a rehabilitation situation.

For any administrative queries regarding fourth year teaching, please contact fourth year undergraduate programme co-ordinator Patrizia De Veyra at

For any academic queries, please contact our fourth year convenor, Professor Mark Weatherall.

Fifth Year teaching: General Medicine and sub-specialities

This 5 week module provides integrated teaching/learning for fifth year students in General Medicine and the following sub-specialties: Renal, Respiratory and Sleep, Cardiology, Oncology and Therapeutics (Pharmacology) in Practice.

Teaching and learning methods include:

  • bedside patient based clinical tutorials,
  • clinical mentoring by a personal tutor,
  • on-call duties with acute General Medicine and Cardiology service (attend and present to post-take ward round),
  • observed long case,
  • case history write-up,
  • completion of a clinical skills logbook,
  • review of prescription charts,
  • small group sub-specialty tutorials,
  • student led seminar (oncology),
  • attend the Wellsleep investigation centre and outpatient clinics with consultant or registrar.

Comprehensive student assessment by: Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), observed long case, written case history, written report on the case history of a peer, clinical teaching sessions and tutorials, on-call and on a post-take ward round, an extended MCQ examination. Individual feedback will be provided.

For any administrative queries regarding the fifth year programme, please contact Sophie Petelaud.

For any academic queries , please contact our fifth year convenor, Associate Professor Andrew Harrison.

Trainee Intern Module

The module allows TIs to develop their practice with regard to patient care, teamwork and professionalism and independent learning.
TIs will have the opportunity to:

  1. Consolidate, synthesise and apply knowledge of health care and health care systems to a range of illnesses and patient presentations relevant to Internal Medicine
  2. Recognise and initiate management of the acutely unwell patient
  3. Function competently as a member of an inpatient based health care team
  4. Pursue in greater depth an area of personal interest and present this to a peer group
  5. Develop further professional attitudes and behaviours in preparation for continuing lifelong learning

TIs are expected to gain expertise in clinical medicine by undertaking supervised clinical responsibility for patients allocated to you on each attachment, and being responsible for their documentation and day to day attention. TIs are expected to pursue a learning programme in Internal Medicine through practical experience, discussion, clinical meeting, the use of journals and reference material and the ‘Preparing for practice’ sessions. The supervising staff will ensure that: clinical techniques are appropriate; understanding the applied medical knowledge is at the required level; communication with patients, family and colleagues is appropriate; the development of behaviours such as a concern for the interests and dignity of people and an awareness of the doctor’s role. TIs must be aware of the ethical rules governing medical practice and the importance of legislation regarding privacy, accident compensation, the Health and Disability Commission, and health service reforms.

For any administrative queries regarding the Trainee Intern Module, please contact Jennabeth Fuge at

For any academic queries, please contact our TI convenor, Dr Mike Tweed.

Our academic building is temporarily closed for seismic reasons but our top class teaching, studying and research programmes remain in full swing.

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