Swansea's first student doctors pass with flying colours
The first ever cohort of student doctors at Swansea University's School of Medicine have passed with flying colours. While all the 35 medical students who sat their exams passed, 15 passed with Honours and three with Commendations. Two students received the further accolade of a place on the Dean's List, one of whom was awarded the prestigious Dean's Prize for the best overall student.
Receiving the news Professor Rhys Williams, Dean of the School of Medicine, said: "This is a great success for the School, the two Universities and ultimately for Wales as I believe that the majority of our students are staying on in Wales to work as junior doctors. This good news is testimony to the hard work of the students themselves, but also to the efforts of the staff who designed and delivered a programme that is innovative, state of the art and customised to the needs of mature students who have a previous degree. In the future I hope that we will build on this success and continue to contribute significantly to the Welsh health scene."
The 35 students are part of the inaugural cohort of Wales's only four year fast-track Graduate Entry Medicine Programme, which was launched in September 2004 and is operated in partnership with Cardiff University. Student places on the programme doubled to 70 in 2005 and, in recognition of the success of the way the programme was delivered (amongst other factors), Swansea University was awarded its own autonomous four-year degree programme, which is due to launch in 2009.
Of the 37 students who enrolled on the programme in 2004, 12 had degrees in arts and other non-pure science subjects. Student ages in the first cohort ranged from 21 years to 42 years including seven students who were over 30 when they started.
A good match therefore for the curriculum, which is tailored to the needs of mature students. Curriculum highlights include LOCS – learning opportunities in a clinical setting – which allow students to experience real-life medical scenarios and interact with patients from the very start. This has proved a big hit with the mature students, who already have life experience behind them. Another key feature is Case-based Learning, which allows students to learn the various aspects of basic science through patient case-studies. The integrated clinical methods module, which teaches student doctors the importance of combining clinical and communication skills has also been well received. As have the student-led Professionalism activities, which encourage professionalism in every aspect of medicine.
Finally, the selection process, which relies on personal interviews with candidates to gauge, amongst other things, their motivation to become doctors, has contributed in no small measure to the success.
For further information about the School of Medicine visit the website.