ScotGEM Clinical Interactions Course (CLIC) and OSCE Lead

We are recruiting an exceptional clinical skills educator/s to join us as ScotGEM Clinical Interactions Course (CLIC) and OSCE Lead/s.  A total of 7 sessions per week are available for the combined roles which span all four year of this new graduate entry rural generalist focused MBChB programme.

 

ScotGEM is a new 4-year programme delivered by Dundee and St Andrews Universities with our partner NHS Health Boards of Tayside, Fife, Highland and Dumfries & Galloway.  The unique dispersed nature of the programme, along with a community based CLIC course that integrates all communication, examination, procedural and clinical reasoning components, offers a superb opportunity for imaginative leadership, evaluation and research.  CLIC is supported by a team of Generalist Clinical Mentors, part time salaried GPs, who bridge between skills lab and related patient-based learning in the GP setting.  Feedback has been outstanding.

 

This post/s will be responsible for the design, content and QA of all components of CLIC (the majority of which is led from St Andrews and occurs during years 1 and 2) and OSCE assessments in all four years.  The first cohort of students matriculated in 2018-9 and will graduate in 2022.

 

We would equally welcome applications from a clinical skills educational specialists to lead the combined role or job-share / split role configurations that align with the dispersed partnership nature of the programme.   There is possibility of either a Dundee or St Andrews contract and we are happy to discuss potential configurations of a split role in advance of applications.

 

Both lead universities enjoy an international reputation for excellence that attracts top-class students and academics from across the world and both institutions hold a gold Teaching Excellence Framework award and both medical schools are consistently ranked within amongst the top in the UK.

Closing date: 31 May 2021

Fulll details can be found on the University of Dundee’s website.

 

Former student accepts Clinical Teacher role within the School of Medicine

Dr Kerri Greene, a six-session GP Partner has joined St. Andrews as a Clinical Teacher in the School of Medicine.

Dr Greene studied at St. Andrews for seven years, initially her BSc Honours degree in Human Biology before going onto study her pre-clinical BSc Honours medical degree here. After graduating from St Andrews she transferred to The University of Edinburgh to complete her clinical training where she obtained her MBChB.

Dr Greene carried out her postgraduate medical training in South East Scotland and is a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP). She is also an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at The University of Edinburgh.

Her areas of interest include; medical education, palliative care and minor surgery. Alongside her current clinical work she holds positions on the Local Medical Committee and NHS Lothian Interface Groups.

As a former student, Dr Greene is excited to return to the University to experience the other side of the medical school now as a Clinical Teacher. In speaking about the opportunity, she said, “It is exciting to be back. I am really looking forward to working with such a great team”.  She is passionate about teaching and in this new position hopes to continue her work in helping to shape future doctors in Scotland.

Supporting doctors’ wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond

COVID-19 has brought disruption, uncertainty and increased pressure on frontline workers – most notably doctors and nurses who are dealing with an influx of patients and a seemingly never-ending caseload. Researchers at Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and NES wanted to understand how doctors were experiencing the transitions associated with COVID-19 and beyond, and what interventions would best support doctors wellbeing and resilience during the pandemic and towards future practice 

 

Funded by the Chief Scientists’ Office in Scotland, this was a Scotland-wide rapid research project on doctors’ wellbeing. This type of research meant that the pace was fast, but effective – with the entirety of the project being only six months from start to finish. The research included interviews and longitudinal audio diaries from around 100 doctors across Scotland during the first wave of COVID-19.  

 

Dr Anita Laidlaw and Dr Joanne Cecil, lecturers at St. Andrews, who each have an interest in health communication and wellbeing of medical students and doctors were involved in this project. Because of the fast pace of the research, all stages of the project were worked on in parallel with each other, which meant that scoping review, data collection, analysis, intervention development and evaluation were conducted simultaneously. Drs Laidlaw and Cecil noted that the fast pace of the research “allowed for the team to quickly identify what should be focused on, which allowed for a narrower research focus.”  

 

After analysis of the interview and diary data, the team worked to develop interventions that would enhance access to formal and informal forms of psychological support. One of these interventions was How Was Your Day? – a new component of the employment engagement and wellbeing app called ‘Trickle which gives real-time data on the wellbeing of Scotland’s NHS workforce and allows health care staff to provide feedback to the organisation. The How was Your Daycomponent of the app provides insight into factors that contribute to good days, such as days where people feel respected and connected to colleagues and takes a proactive approach to supporting and valuing staff. Since introducing this app into the NHS, poor hydration has been highlighted as a contributor to bad days.  

 

This project, despite the fast pace of research, has yielded very important results. The findings clearly showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified already existing challenges to doctors working practices.  As Dr Laidlaw cited, “the project really allowed us to identify barriers in the workplace and helped to make it more acceptable for doctors to seek help when they need it.” The research identified that doctors were experiencing a lack of being valued and increased stigma around seeking psychological support – which was only made more prominent during COVID-19. 

 

Although the project identified certain barriers to accessing support both formally and informally, it also revealed positive experiences including the importance of teamwork and collaboration within and across specialities. Dr Cecil noted that “although the results indicated there is work to be done to improve wellbeing of doctors within the NHS, it also revealed what was working which gives us a starting point to make improvements.” 

With additional funding, the project hopes to continue research with the participants in 2021 (a year post initial COVID-19 lockdown) as a part of the follow-up – giving more information on “the beyond” aspect of the research.  

 

Trickle app images

We are Human Too: Shining a Light on Healthcare Professional Wellbeing

‘We are Human Too’ was an exciting, extra-curricular programme of free, virtual events focussing on various aspects of healthcare professional wellbeing.  The programme ran from February to March and was led by three of the Medical Demonstrators (Dr Rowan Ah-See, Dr Zoë Arnott and Dr Eva Peck), in collaboration with the Bute Medical Society. The programme was open to all students and staff in the School of Medicine. 

Medicine can be a challenging career at the best of times, and this has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Whilst the University offers a range of student support and wellbeing tools, medical students and healthcare professionals can face unique challenges in their careers. 

The series comprised seven events and focused on various aspects of healthcare professional wellbeing. The Medical Demonstrators shared their own experiences of making mistakes as junior doctors and their career pathways so far and hosted a Q&A session. The external speakers’ presentations ranged from expert clinicians discussing mental health (Dr Caroline Walker), burnout (Dr Clare Ashley), strategies to improve wellbeing (Dr Rachel Morris) and the importance of civility in healthcare (Dr Alison White). The organisers were particularly grateful that the external speakers donated their time free of charge, despite some of them doing wellbeing/resilience/coaching as part of their professional careers. The programme proved very popular with both students and staff, attracting a core audience of 195 attendees with many people attending multiple events. 

A creative project, ‘Life in Lockdown’, ran alongside the talk series to collate experiences of School of Medicine students and staff during the pandemic. View the gallery of the submissions 

‘We are Human Too’ aimed to support the School of Medicine community through this difficult time by making conversations about wellbeing commonplace, help prepare students for the challenges of their future careers and empower all to be active participants in creating and maintaining supportive cultures, both now and in the future. 

Our careers may be based on helping others, but we can need just as much help – for We are Human Too. 

 

Dr Rowan Ah-See, Dr Zoë Arnott and Dr Eva Peck

HEA workshop for those interested in Fellowship opportunities

To help aid in the School of Medicine’s mission of continuous development for staff involved in teaching, an Advance HE Fellowship workshop was held on May 4 to help those interested in taking the next step in teaching and applying for a Fellowship.  

 

The Advanced HE Fellowship program is to recognise those who meet professional standards of teaching in Higher Education on a regular basis. The program is open to anyone to apply and consists of four Fellowship levels, Associate, Fellowship, Senior and Principal. Recognition at this level is for individuals who demonstrate a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education.  

 

The workshop, attended by 12 members of staff, explored what the fellowship is about, provided support to individuals who are considering submitting an application and peer to peer learning for those applying for the same fellowship pathway.  

 

For the School of Medicine, this workshop represents the continued support and training available to staff for continuous development and overall commitment to ensuring a high quality of education.  

 

This workshop exists as part of a wide array of training and development programs that are offered by the University.  

 

Improving Diversity in Clinical Skills Education

Diversity is hugely significant at the University of St Andrews, given that the University hosts students from over 130 different countries. Racial and cultural diversity is evident within the University and more specifically, within the School of Medicine. The School endeavours for this diversity to be reflected in teaching practice. 

Limbs and Things are a UK-based business, which provides clinical-skills models for students of clinical education across the globe, including medical students at St Andrew’s. With a vision of delivering state of the art learning tools, these models provide means for students to practice medical procedures and are repeatable, anatomically accurate and cost-effective training solutions. Up until recently, these models were uniform and did not reflect racial diversity.  

Seeing an opportunity to improve equality and diversity in teaching, the Clinical Skills team at the University of St Andrews, along with input from students, recognised the need to have a more diverse range of models available. The team approached Limbs and Things with the idea of offering models of different types and varying skin tones. Limbs and Things, excited by this opportunity, recently began to produce darker-skinned models. The School of Medicine secured a number of new models in four different types since June 2020, which will be used by their students in clinical training. The School’s Manager, Clive Masson, says that he is delighted with this development, stating that clinical models should reflect the racial diversity that is not only evident within the School of Medicine, but across the NHS and throughout Scotland.   

PhD student publishes new paper

The School of Medicine sends a big congratulations to PhD student, Angela Martinelli, who recently published a paper, based on her PhD thesis, in the Human Molecular Genetics journal. The study focused on developmental language disorder, diagnosed when children show unexpected problems with expressing and understanding spoken language. This is a common condition, with studies suggesting that at least 5% of children experience difficulties, often co-occurring with other neurodevelopmental disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD.  

 

The study identified a rare non-synonymous variant in ATP2C2, a gene that was previously implicated in language disorders. The variant was discovered as a result of ongoing exome sequencing studies, conducted as part of an international collaboration of researchers. Angela followed up on this finding by genotyping the variant in large cohorts of individuals diagnosed with language-related disorders. The study uncovered that the variant increased the risk for language impairment in clinical samples. Furthermore, carriers of the variant in the general population tend to have lower scores on language-related tests.  

 

Dr Martinelli said that “the University of St. Andrews offered the opportunity to work in a very stimulating environment, acquire a competitive international profile, develop new professional skills, and interact with outstanding researchers”. She added that the outcome of her thesis was a result of a wonderful collaboration with researchers across the world. Angela thanked her PhD supervisor, Dr Silvia Paracchini, stating that she is very grateful for the valuable support and advice provided throughout her study.  

Dr Paracchini said that she is “really pleased to see this paper published, as the culmination of a few years of hard work! Angela demonstrated massive commitment to this project, particularly in the context of the challenges that COVID-19 and lockdown presented. The study highlights how complex the genetics of language disorders is and that cross-disciplinary and international collaborations are necessary to advance the field. Although we miss Angela in the lab, we wish her every success in her future career”.  

The study was published on the 16th of April. It was supported by an Act ion Medical Research Action/The Chief Scientist Office (CSO), Scotland grant (GN2614) and a Cunningham Trust grant 

https://academic.oup.com/hmg/advance-article/doi/10.1093/hmg/ddab111/6230988 

School of Medicine Development Fellowships

The School of Medicine is offering four Fellowships focused on Innovative Research

The School of Medicine (SoM) is committed to providing exceptional career opportunities for talented early-career researchers, and thus we are investing in a SoM fellowship programme.  The posts, of up to 2 years in duration, are structured to support each Fellow in their development towards securing an externally funded Fellowship award.  The posts will be recruited as a cohort and this is our first cohort of SoM Development Fellows.

Aimed at early career researchers and innovators to develop their careers in a supportive, world-leading environment, the SoM fellowship programme will include mentoring, peer support and training opportunities. It is anticipated that the SoM Fellows will prepare and submit independent Fellowship applications during their first year and transition to externally funded fellowship positions in St Andrews in their second year.  General orientation and advice, in addition to support in developing and implementation of research strategy will be provided by senior academics across the School, and wider University as applicable.

The SoM Fellowships are aimed at early career researchers who have already begun to establish a reputation for high quality research.  They will build upon existing research areas within the School and develop new ones.  Applicants must demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, appropriate to their career stage, with evidence of and potential for producing distinguished research in their field.

The School of Medicine’s research is divided into four divisions:

Cellular Medicine
The cellular medicine division combines basic and clinical research with the goal of understanding the cellular and molecular basis of disease.  The division’s interdisciplinary research uses cutting edge technology to address fundamental biomedical processes involved in health and disease.  Applications are invited in the area of Cancer research including but not limited to Immuno-oncology, quantitative oncology and cancer imaging.

Education
The education division focuses on high quality medical educational research and the development of medical educational researchers. Ongoing research examines various aspects of the training of tomorrow’s doctors and other health professionals.  We are seeking a Fellow in medical education research. Applications in the area of professional wellbeing and remote medical education learning experience would be particularly welcome.

Infection and Global Health
The research interests of the infection and global health division spans from investigating the causes of ill health at the molecular level, the diagnosis and treatment at the individual patient level, through to community, national and global influences on health determinants.  We work in a range of fields that include clinical trials, pathogen genomics, antimicrobial resistance, diagnostic tools, education and training, and global health policy. Our particular focus is on health in low resource settings, and the division has ongoing initiatives internationally with particularly strong links in East Africa and Indonesia.

Population and Behavioural Science
Population and Behavioural Science research in the School of Medicine is focused on health promotion, prevention, early detection, management of illness and communication in local, national and global contexts.  We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in health data science, epidemiology, trials and the design, delivery, and evaluation of theory-based psychological interventions with clinical interests in cancer, addiction medicine, multimorbidity and primary care.

We are looking to recruit 1 Fellow per Division. Applications from our current areas of research as identified above are welcome along with innovative areas of research that will enhance our current areas of expertise.  We would also welcome applicants whose research is interdisciplinary and who can foster innovation in the University’s research themes, which are underpinned by our strengths in evidence-driven innovation.

Appointments will be made at Grade 6 and a consumables budget will be provided to the postholders.

Informal enquiries on the process and the structure of the applications can be addressed to Karen Ross on kr16@st-andrews.ac.uk  who will direct applicants to the most suitable member of academic staff.

Applications are particularly welcome from women, people from the Black, Asian, Minority or Ethnic (BAME) community and other protected characteristics who are under-represented in research posts at the University.

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through accreditation (Athena SWAN; Carer Positive; Stonewall, LGBT and Race Charters), as listed on: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/hr/edi/diversityawards/.

Closing Date:  21 May 2021

Interview Date:  Weeks commencing 14 and/or 21 June 2021

Please quote ref: AR2518NB

Further Particulars and the application system can be found on the University jobs website

Further Particulars: AR2518NB FPs.doc

School of Medicine
Salary: £33,797 – £40,322 per annum
Start Date: August 2021
Fixed Term: 2 Years  

Clinical skills training finds a way to adapt with PPE for students

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt widespread leading to many industries having to completely transform the way they deliver services. Medical education has also undergone a significant transformation to adapt to current restrictions while still delivering the same quality education to its students.  

 

For the School of Medicine, this period of change has forced professors, lecturers and staff to make widespread changes to recruitment processes and delivery of classes, including the crucial clinical skills training. Clinical skills are taught as practical, hands-on sessions for years 1-3 usually involving actors roleplaying as patients for students to practice with.  

 

COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing made it difficult for hands-on sessions like clinical skills to be taught, without adaptations. However, senior lecturer, Dr Rebecca Walmsley, knew that this course was critical and needed to be adapted to be preserved saying, “the sessions allow students to learn hands-on skills and we knew that this was something we wanted to keep for students who were able to be on campus.”  

 

One of the many changes that were made for the course was the introduction of full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for students. Having PPE allowed for students to be able to work closely together and practice hands-on skills while keeping each other safe. PPE and COVID training were mandatory for students to complete before going through clinical skills to allow students to feel more comfortable and improve their understanding of how to use PPE safely. To maintain social distancing, group sizes were also reduced to decrease the capacity of people in each room which meant that sessions were run twice as often as before. Students also had to roleplay histories for each other since actors could not be brought in to simulate patients. 

 

Virtual sessions were also incorporated for students that could not be on campus and for other skills that could not be taught during the in-person sessions. Nearpod, an interactive teaching platform, was also incorporated into some sessions, which allows for interactive teaching that engages students. For third-year students, the clinical skills training – which was completely redesigned – utilised virtual teaching by incorporating an Escape Room that featured various clinical puzzles students needed to solve to “escape.”  

 

While the School of Medicine is looking forward to getting back to full face-to-face teaching, valuable lessons were learned through this experience. The module benefitted from more interaction with other medical students from other Universities and interactive teaching methods that both challenged lecturers and students. Overall, the adaptability that students, lecturers and the School of Medicine have shown has exceeded expectations for education during COVID-19.