Maximising success: Facilitating the academic, professional, social and emotional transition of students into medical school and through the first year

Dominique Hubble, Laura Bowater

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Background and purpose
Successful transition into and through medical school is a well-recognised challenge. Emotional vulnerability, maladaptive coping strategies and low resilience are inter-related and associated with physical and psychiatric morbidity . Promoting student well-being through targeted support - academic, pastoral and organisational- seems likely to improve students’ overall experience, their academic success and their enjoyment of medical school.

Methods
We have many points of intervention to lever students towards better academic, professional and general coping practices. At the admissions stage, careful counselling at engagement events, and selecting students who are suited to the course are all essential to avoid mismatches in school/student styles, as unsuitability to the profession is a common reason for attrition . Further activities during students’ post-offer time, when they are completing their school studies and deciding which medical school to choose, is a valuable time to offer students further insights into the course; the next component when offers are finalised is yet another opportunity.

On commencing the course, the quality of the induction package, the nature of their welcome to the University, the presence and attitudes of staff are an important element towards settling in students. Peer mentoring and good administrative support to navigate the logistics and idiosyncrasies of new systems and curricula, add to students’ self-confidence and provide good role-modelling. Personal advisers receive specific year one guidance and meet the students in week 1 at a social event.

The social and collaborative element of learning in small groups supported by dedicated tutors helps strengthen psychological and academic well-being , as well as providing an early-warning system. The initial course content is engaging and planned to mesh with students’ current experiences and knowledge. Formative assessments are followed by personal feedback and foster a culture of self-reflection.

Results
This is work-in-progress and is being evaluated qualitatively together with the rest of the course. We are exploring and evaluating “induction” as something above and beyond just the induction week and evaluating the different strategies we have put in place.

Conclusion
Our awareness of the importance of acknowledging the importance of managing these transitions has become more acute as the average age at entry has diminished, as we receive more school-leavers and fewer graduates. In the last three years we have focused on developing these interventions at Norwich Medical School while sharing ideas across faculties in the wider University, to work towards a more global culture of support.

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Dyrbye, L.N., Power, D.V., Massie, F.S., Eacker, A., Harper, W., Thomas, M.R., Szydlo, D.W., Sloan, J.A., Shanafelt, T.D., 2010. Factors associated with resilience to and recovery from burnout: a prospective, multi-institutional study of US medical students. Medical Education 44, 1016–1026. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03754.x
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2015
EventAssociation for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting - The University of Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jan 2005 → …

Conference

ConferenceAssociation for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityThe University of Newcastle
Period1/01/05 → …

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