Prospective assessment of a critical appraisal teaching programme on medical students’ confidence and performance in appraising medical literature

Background Previous research has demonstrated that medical students have insufficient knowledge of critical appraisal, a fundamental aspect of evidence-based medicine. We aimed to enhance medical students’ critical appraisal skills using an innovative mixed-methods programme.

Evaluating the usefulness and utility of a webinar as a platform to educate students on a UK clinical academic programme

Background The Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) is the first step of the UK’s national integrated clinical academic pathway; however, the application process can be unclear. We evaluated webinars as a teaching medium to enhance knowledge and confidence of prospective applicants.

Blogging for medical education – a personal view


Medical education has evolved considerably from didactic and lecture-based to self-directed, especially with the rise of online platforms. While large organisations may commission or create entire customised courses for online learning, the individual teacher has a more modest and immediately accessible tool with which to disseminate information to students and other learners: blogging.

Effect of a national focused course on academic medicine on UK candidates applying for a Clinical Academic Programme

Background Academic medicine is crucial for healthcare advancement. However, recruitment of junior doctors into academia remains an area of concern globally. In the UK, a national integrated clinical academic pathway was developed to address these issues, with the Academic Foundation Programme as the ‘first opportunity for research’. We aimed to evaluate whether a focused course on academic medicine could enhance knowledge, confidence and preparedness of candidates wishing to apply for an academic programme.

Medical humanities: some uses and problems

The arts and humanities were allowed into the British medical curriculum in 1993 when the General Medical Council re-structured it in a paper entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’. Since then many medical schools have developed humanities modules and the broad term ‘medical humanities’ refers to these. They can contribute to medical education in at least three ways: as a supplement to what is already in the curriculum, especially for ethics and communication; as an outside critique of medical practice; and to personal and professional development.

Current Controversy: Empathy – can it be taught?

There is now a societal and cultural expectation that doctors and nurses should feel, and display, empathy for their patients. Many commentators argue that medical and nursing students should be taught empathy. Empathy, however, is difficult to define: it is not the same as kindness, as it implies a degree of psychological insight into what the patient is thinking or feeling. Empathy is seen by some as a form of emotional intelligence that can be systematically developed through teaching and positive role models.

Cost and value in medical education – what we can learn from the past?

What lessons can be learned from the history of cost and value in medical education? First, the issue of cost and value in medical education has been around for a long time. Rising costs and an economic recession have made us focus on the subject more, but the issue has been just below the surface for over 200 years. A problem like this will not go away by itself – we must tackle it now. Second, the history of cost and value in medical education makes us look critically at who should pay. Should it be students, institutions or governments?