MD - Principles of Clinical Practice 1 (PCP1) (Information for GPs and Practice Staff)
Curriculum and Learning Objectives
Principles of Clinical Practice 1 (PCP1) is a year long subject run in the first year of the four year post graduate medical course (Doctor of Medicine - MD) at the University of Melbourne. It is worth 12.5% of the year, with the other 87.5% being devoted to the subject Foundations of Biomedical Science. The subject is taught via weekly 2 hour tutorials on campus over one year.
The content of the PCP1 course is closely aligned with the teaching of the basic sciences.
The objectives of the program include the following:
- to characterise symptoms of the major body systems
- to conduct a basic medical interview
- to apply basic clinical reasoning skills during a medical interview
- to demonstrate basic communication and consultation skills
- to demonstrate basic physical examination skills
- to demonstrate basic professional skills
Small group learning methods are used in PCP1. Role-play and simulated patients are used for developing students’ communication and medical interviewing skills. Peer examination is the main method for teaching physical examination skills. Students will continue be encouraged to provide each other with feedback on their clinical performance.
PCP1 students are in the first year of the MD. This means their medical knowledge is emerging and they will have only had a brief introduction to physical examination. The PCP1 placement is the students’ first clinical visit and has an emphasis on communication skills. During this placement:
- students will attend in pairs (where possible) enabling them to discuss specific aspects of their visit;
- students will observe a doctor’s consultation for a three hour period where they will concentrate on specific aspects of the communication between the doctor and the patient;
- students will interview a patient about the symptom of pain (if the opportunity arises)
- students will speak to the doctor about their experience at the conclusion of the placement (if time permits)
- students are not expected to examine any of your patients or perform any procedures.
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct on Clinical Attachments
The doctor should set the ground rules for ethical and professional behaviour at the beginning of the clinical placement. This is important in guiding students in their own professional and personal development. It is also important to discuss the learning objectives of the placement with your student(s).
What the students have been told:
The following guidelines are emphasised for students attending General Practice placements:
- The doctors (or other practice staff) at the clinical placement to which you are attached will obtain consent from each patient you have contact with (before you see them)
- Patients will be made aware that their participation is voluntary – they are free to agree or refuse and they will be reassured that their medical care will in no way be affected by their decision
- It is important that you introduce yourself to the patient you are about to see, explaining that you are a medical student and why you are there
- Patients are told that students are expected to uphold the same standards of confidentiality as doctors and have agreed to you being present on this basis. This establishes an explicit agreement about confidentiality.
- Take care not to identify or reveal the name of any patient to anyone.
- Remember that details other than names can be identifying in some circumstances, so take care with these details.
- Discussing with your tutors and fellow students the patients whom you have seen on clinical placements is an important part of medical education but again take care not to use names.
- It is normal and acceptable to ‘debrief’ about your experiences with family and trusted friends but do so in a way that is respectful to patients and, again, avoids identifying them.
- It is quite appropriate to thank patients for agreeing to have you present – they are helping you with your education
- Please dress appropriately for your clinical visits.
- Remember to take your photo ID with you and wear it throughout your visit.
- Please remember to be punctual for all placements: sometimes patients have been asked to come in especially for your benefit, so they should not be kept waiting.
- Mobile phones MUST be turned off during clinical placements.
Patient consent must be obtained for all medical placements; either written or verbal (as a minimum).
Practices will be provided with a sample patient information and consent form. Additional copies can be downloaded from the forms and resources section of this website.
Practices can use this document and attach to the patients file. Practice staff need to tick which type of student will be seeing the patients.
Attendance and PIP
Student attendance at this placement is compulsory. Students will be provided with an attendance form which should be signed by the supervising GP or Practice Manager, and the student. Students must return it to the University prior to the end of semester. This form will be used by the Department of General Practice to generate the PIP form (for eligible practices).