Plymouth’s five-year integrated Medicine course follows a curriculum that’s structured around the human life cycle. This course gives students the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to become a doctor in a world with constantly evolving healthcare.
In year one, students study human physical and psychological development – from conception to old age. This is supplemented with real-life clinical case studies, experience of healthcare in community settings, meeting patients and learning from health and social care professionals.
In year two, the human life cycle is revisited but with a focus on disease, pathological processes as well as the human and social impact of disease and illness. A series of placements are undertaken in a GP so that students can understand how teams work together and long-term health issues.
In the third year, there is a focus on three Pathways of Care: Acute Care, Ward Card and Integrated Ambulatory Care. Students also spend more time in patient-centred learning settings and will complete several hospital and GP placements.
This continues into the fourth year, whilst developing clinical, analytical, communication and problem-solving skills. The focus on three Pathways of Care also carries over, with focus on Acute Care, Continuing Care and Palliative Care/Oncology. By the final year, students will apply the knowledge and skills gained over the first four years by working ‘on the job’ with a healthcare team based in Torbay or Derriford hospital.
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- Toby Ball
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What are the best things about your medical school?
- The location has to be one of the biggest draws to the South West. With Plymouth being right at the water’s edge, you can always head to the sea for an ice cream on a sunny day. Cornwall is also very close, and it has more beaches to explore than you can imagine.
- Community placements start early, within the first couple of weeks of year one. This is great as it allows you patient contact as early as possible.
- The lecturers are also some of the most approachable people. They will always have time for any queries or help that you may need.
What are the hardest things about your course?
- The assessment system of progress tests is a daunting prospect. These exams are given to all five years, so as a first year they can be intimidating, but they are good for tracking how well you are doing.
- I have found that working without cadavers to be a more difficult way of learning anatomy, but the digital Anatomage table provides three dimensional imaging of cadavers which can be moved and labelled to help test your knowledge.
- Having to focus on studying with the temptation of going to the beach and outdoors is also very hard!
What’s the social side of your medical school like?
- The surrounding areas of Plymouth, such as Dartmoor, offer lots of opportunity for hiking and exploring. The beaches in surrounding Cornwall also offer the chance for surfing and other water sports.
- The night life is good, but it does not have as many big nightclubs as the other big cities. The bars are more intimate by the university, so it can be good to have a few drinks and socialise.
- There are lots of societies to get involved in, including Plymouth Med Soc, who offer many socials and teaching sessions to supplement the teaching by the medical school. Med Soc also offers sports teams, helping with charitable events and going on trips, for example, a regular surf trip to Newquay.
What tips would you give to someone applying to your medical school?
- I found that it’s important to have other interests, as well as being good academically. Making sure you have other interests not only ensures you stand out from others in your application, but also helps you relax during your degree!
- Don’t give up! I’m a graduate and have known the disappointment of not getting in, but if you are in the right mind-set and are committed to medicine, you can become a doctor.
- Whilst having some experience in volunteering or healthcare is essential, I feel that having a wide variety of experiences has made me a better-rounded student now. Getting experience in many different settings will benefit you once you get to medical school.