Testimonial 1

I would strongly recommend this course to colleagues. This was a well-run course which was ideal for me as a newly appointed higher trainee in forensic psychiatry, as I was keen on further study and had designated special interest time to attend formal teaching days, as well as an expanded role in teaching. The first module tied in well with my clinical and educational work as I found I was able to implement educational theory and models as the course went on. The second module on assessment in medical education was well run and very relevant for medical trainees. Talking through different methodologies and the evidence base makes you look at your e-portfolio, as well as your assessment of others, with new eyes!

Tutors were flexible with the assignment topics, which were able to be based on my interests and specific to my practice. I chose the thorny area of empathy in medical education for one literature review which touched on the area of the ‘hidden curriculum’ which I found interesting. In other assignments I looked at the evidence for situational judgement tests, as well as writing reflective pieces on my practice and on a new assessment methodology.

I had no difficulty arranging study time to attend formal teaching days and was well supported by both my Programme Director and the Deanery who offered a bursary which covered half the course fees. The University of Plymouth website and e-resources were very well organised and useful to access journals and research. I also enjoyed the chance to write critically and develop skills in examining the literature around medical education.  I would say that people should go into the course prepared to work and study, as completing four lengthy assignments to a good standard does take time and is also reliant on people attending the course and doing the relevant work. Having said that, this was very much a course geared towards practicing clinicians, who are juggling various priorities alongside study.

I chose to pause after completing the Certificate stage rather than continue directly to the Diploma and Masters, as I needed to develop other areas of my professional portfolio, but would be keen to continue in the future once I’ve done that.

 

Testimonial 2

Many thanks indeed for this bursary. With its help I have now completed my Certificate in Clinical Education, with an overall Merit.  The certificate course provided me with a much more analytical look at my own teaching practice via reflection and drawing upon pedagogical research. I was interested by the course’s emphasis not only on improving individual teaching skills but on improving systems of teaching and assessment design and delivery.  As a GP trainee set to soon take the clinical skills assessment (CSA) I chose to review the validity evidence of the CSA against Downing’s validity framework and from this suggest improvements. It was rewarding to examine part of the assessment process that I and my GP trainee peers will go through.  What I have learned has not only give me the personal and professional satisfaction of working more effectively within education and training but it will also help me to positively “contribute to teaching and training of doctors and students”, as per section 39 of The General Medical Council’s 2013 Good Medical Practice.

As a result of my experiences from the certificate stage I would like to further pursue postgraduate medical education via the Diploma stage. Areas of interest for me are improving systems of teaching locally and this links in with my goals of becoming a GP trainer locally and working more with the medical school, ideally in small groups and problem based learning sessions.

I was also asked to comment on the quality of the course in this letter; I would say that this is rather good. The administration behind it was particularly efficient. The contact sessions were on the whole useful and well worth the commute to Plymouth for, both in terms of learning about clinical education and in terms of understanding what they expected from us in the assignments. The assessment of the course was solely in the form of four 3000 word essays, which is perhaps not ideal given that the course content included discussion on how best practice is that assessment of learning should be multifaceted and not rely on one mode (such as essay writing skills) alone. That being said, the course providers themselves highlighted this mismatch and I understand it was due to the confines of the wider university’s assessment guidance that they were restricted to essay assessment only. They provided a session on essay writing skills and tips which helped mitigate the effect this would have on those not natural essay writers.

I would certainly recommend this course to another junior doctor looking to improve their teaching skills, particularly if they have in interest in being involved in (and improving) teaching and assessment systems.

 

Testimonial 3

I am an ST4 ACF (academic clinical fellow) in geriatrics.  Having an NIHR funded ACF position means I spend a day and a half each week working on clinical research.  My research interests are dementia and post operative cognitive impairment.  As part of my role as a clinical research fellow it is vital that I develop skills in clinical education to ensure that I am able to effectively teach about research and clinical trials to both students, colleagues and patients and in addition to disseminate my research findings.  I applied for a bursary for this course to enhance both my clinical NHS work and my academic research.  

The Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education (PgCert) is designed primarily for clinicians involved in clinical education to develop their knowledge and skills as a teacher, trainer, educational scholar, leader and manager. As part of the PGCert I undertook 2 modules:

1. Clinical Education Practice: Theory, Evidence and Application (30 credits). 

This module looks at the position of modern educational practice in its "historical,

cultural and theoretical framework" exploring the interplay between these concepts in clinical practice.

2. Assessment in Clinical Education (30 credits).  This module allowed me to develop my knowledge and understanding of "evidence based approaches in healthcare assessment theory and practice."

I learnt a great deal from the course.  I was given the opportunity to explore educational theory and its application to teaching in the clinical environment.  I was also able to explore the role of work based assessments in learning and critical appraisal of clinical educational practice. 

I am certain that everyone who undertakes this programme will gain a great deal that will benefit their individual future career(s).   Personally, I wanted to use this course to enhance my ability to teach about clinical research and research trials to students, colleagues and patients.  This will help me in the future when I am applying for clinician scientist awards and running my own research group. 

I can see other benefits in my clinical work, as I have developed my skills in reflection and critical appraisal.  This in turn will help me evaluate research and lead to better outcomes for my patients.

The course was delivered through interactive teaching days.  These days were always interesting to attend and provided a positive learning environment.  The quality of the teaching on the whole was excellent.

I would recommend this course to my colleagues for several reasons.  Primarily this course follows the mission for the Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PSMD) in "fostering excellence, innovation and creativity in academic and clinical disciplines."  In summary - this course really shows the skills of the PPME team, it is interesting, educational and useful for now and my future career.

Having completed the PGCert I am currently working on the next stage, the PGDip and if I can raise sufficient grant money I hope to complete the Masters over the next few years.  I am very grateful for the support from the PGME.

 

Testimonial 4

There were two modules on the course.  The first module was on teaching theory, evidence and application.  During this module I learnt more about teaching theory.  It gave me insight into different teaching methods that I could use in my teaching practice and the opportunity to review the literature and use some of these methods in practice.  It also gave me the opportunity to critically reflect upon my own teaching practice and identify particular areas on which I could focus and improve. 

The second module was on teaching assessment.  I thoroughly enjoyed this module which explored different methods of assessment, test design and statistical analysis of assessment data.  The module challenged my perception of different assessment methodology and allowed me to explore assessment design.  In particular I enjoyed the opportunity to design a new assessment, utilising the knowledge I had gained throughout the module. 

The course has challenged my teaching practice and allowed me to critically appraise and improve my clinical teaching.  I hope to use the knowledge that I have gained to further my own teaching practice at a local level in particular in developing teaching sessions for medical students and colleagues.  In the longer term I hope to continue to maintain a role in medical education and will explore options as to whether this could become a formal part of my work. 

The course was very well taught and I enjoyed the structured teaching days.  I think the value of face to face teaching time should not be underestimated and I am pleased that I did not choose an entirely distance learning course.  The study days allowed opportunity to share ideas and teaching opportunities with other trainees and allied health professionals in the deanery.  I enjoyed the second module more as I felt that it was more grounded in an evidence base.  The course organisers were flexible and were brilliant at steering and accommodating different project ideas.

I would recommend this course to anyone with an interest in teaching, whether they are already relatively experienced or have very little teaching experience under their belt.  The course is a great introduction to teaching theory and was helpful in highlighting new ideas for teaching in clinical practice.  It also allowed time to explore my own ideas about teaching projects and to reflect on my current teaching practice.  It would be a good starting point for anyone wishing to engage more formally in teaching and wishing to gain more teaching experience. 

 

Testimonial 5

As an ST6 trainee in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery I deliver teaching in a variety of formal and informal settings to a wide range of learners. This can vary from a 3rd year medical student encountering Trauma and Orthopaedics for the very first time as part of their MDEMO placement at University of Bristol to a Core Surgical Trainee who is approaching registrar training and occasionally even to consultants on how to use the various IT systems used in medical training. The learning environment can also vary greatly from very informal teaching on a ward round, in theatre or in clinic to more formalised teaching on Deanery led courses, or University tutorials.

I have found this course very useful in providing a framework from which to plan and develop the teaching which I deliver. Having been involved in giving teaching sessions for many years prior to embarking on the course I have developed some of my own theories around what works well in different teaching scenarios, but it was enormously useful to have the time and space to reflect upon this and compare my own experiences to published educational theory. These educational principles and published evidence will provide the basis of any teaching sessions I deliver in the future and will provide the tools necessary to deliver teaching which is tailored to learner’s needs.

Another hugely useful aspect of the course was the opportunity to receive a constructive critique of both a teaching session delivered as part of module 1 and a course proposal as part of module 8. The opportunity to plan and deliver both a teaching session, and a course proposal, and then justify the educational principles and theory behind it was enjoyable, challenging and a very beneficial experience. This will really help focus my attention on bringing in educational theory and particularly aiming for constructive alignment, when planning teaching in the future.

Overall I feel the course has had a hugely positive impact on my ability to provide teaching sessions to all levels of medical learner and I will use the principles learnt on this course for the rest of my career in medical education.

 

Testimonial 6

I completed two modules for this course.

The first module, entitled “Theory, evidence and application” covered many aspects - educational learning theory, teaching methodology, feedback, professional standard frameworks for education and reflective practice. There was opportunity for practical experience, the assignments required one to complete an observed teaching episode, and observe and critique another person teaching.

I learnt a lot during this module, and it certainly enabled me to achieve many of my learning objectives for the course. In particular, I gained good understanding of adult learning theory, I learnt and was able to experiment with new teaching styles, most notably small group teaching methods and through this expand my practice. I was previously unaware of professional standard frameworks, but was able to see how I could work towards achieving these and evidencing my teaching competence. It was helpful to understand learning styles, the importance of and how to give and receive constructive feedback to improve practice. For each written assignment I was able to pick a topic relevant to my training and career, so these were also useful exercises and beneficial to my work as well as the course.

The second module, “Assessment in Clinical Education”, was very different but also very interesting. Much of the material in this module was new to me, and I found it interesting to understand about construct validity, assessment methodology, assessment at different times during medical training (e.g. for medical school admission, in junior doctor training, higher exams, appraisal and revalidation, and remediation services).

The content of, and assignments for this module were of less immediate relevance for my current training but will be increasingly useful as I progress to consultant level.

Career benefits of the course:

I took this course while a senior registrar (ST6), and less than a year following completion have successfully gained my first consultant post. I feel that having this course significantly improved my chances of gaining this post and will also help in future consultant job applications (the current position is a locum consultant role). I am likely to have a significant educational component to my future work when a consultant and I feel this course has enabled me to feel much better prepared for this, expand my teaching repertoire and enhance my skills, as well as evidence teaching and education as my special interest. My understanding of assessment validity will come in useful as I will be involved in medical student assessment during my locum consultant post and in the future I also hope to become an educational supervisor for Specialty Trainees. I feel that having completed this course enables me to demonstrate my experience, training and interest in education and meet the GMC guidelines for duties of a doctor in this regard.

The quality of the educational content of the course:

This was mostly very good. Both of the module leads were excellent teachers and I enjoyed all of their sessions immensely. The first module in particularwas delivered in a very interactive, non-didactic manner, which was particularly enjoyable and I feel enabled me to gain practical as well as theoretical understanding of the material.

The educational content of the second module was at points rather challenging and I feel could have benefitted from more time and explanation.

I would recommend this course to a colleague and have done so. It was close to home for me, and despite have 3 young children and working part-time, it was flexible enough to complete around these other commitments. The course definitely enabled me to meet my learning objectives, and has made me a more confident and competent teacher, as well as improved my career opportunities in education.

 

Testimonial 7

I successfully completed and was awarded a PGCE from Plymouth University. 

The certificate level of the programme comprises  two modules - Clinical education practice (theory, evidence and practice) and Assessment in clinical education.

Each module consisted of few days of face-to-face teaching sessions, which were certainly helpful in guiding my in-depth reading and ultimately brain storming some ideas for my assignments / essays.

I have always been interested in clinical education and looking for opportunities to develop my teaching skills. After graduating from medical school, I worked as a teaching and research assistant in histopathology for just over a year.  I enjoyed that rich experience which helped to shape my interest in clinical education, however it also made me realise the importance of developing a deep understanding of the different models of teaching and the theories behind such models.

As a senior registrar I have been heavily involved in organising and delivering teaching to medical students and junior colleagues, as well as to other healthcare professionals, in the form of lectures, practical simulation sessions and bedside teaching.  I deliver most of my day-to-day teaching during my outpatient clinics, so in my first essay I focused on critically analysing the different teaching models used in an ambulatory care, which was very rewarding in term of developing my techniques and my ability to have variable teaching skills. It was then the focus of the second essay to put that into practice by writing about the teaching that I deliver.

My aim is for this qualification to be the foundation for possible future roles as trainer, educational and clinical supervision as well as assessor.  I have an interest in developing the role of musculoskeletal ultrasound in rheumatology practice.  There has been a surge in the interest to add this skill to the rheumatology national curriculum, which will bring with it opportunities to train others in the use of ultrasound in musculoskeletal conditions.

During the second module of the PGCE, I wrote an essay about developing a new formative assessment tool to be used to assess trainees’ ultrasound skills in rheumatology practice. I have anticipated the future need for such a tool taking in consideration the growing interest in including ultrasound skill in our curriculum. 

The educational content and resources available are of a high quality and standard. The tutors and mentors demonstrated a wide experience in various aspects of clinical education. I found the face-to-face sessions very stimulating and very much enjoyed the debates during those sessions. Those interesting debates did certainly help to develop my own practice in clinical education and to enrich my understanding of the science behind it.

I think the course would be an ideal opportunity for those interested in clinical education as a parallel skill to their clinical work. The core topics of the two modules of the certificate level have certainly enhanced my understanding of the educational theories and putting them in practice. I have also developed a greater understanding of assessments in clinical education and reflective practice.

 

Testimonial 8

The course was undertaken because of the growing recognition of the importance of effective teaching in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical training as well as being a fundamental area of the GMC’s Good Medical Practice. Throughout my experience of medical education it had become clear there are a multitude of styles of teaching and learning but also a variation in effect of these. Since teaching was becoming more important as I ascended the career ladder I wanted to gain the knowledge and insight into what makes an effective teacher as well as understand the different styles of learning.

The first part of this course ‘Theory, Evidence and Application’ provided detailed theoretical knowledge of the different teaching and learning approaches. The learning principles from this were immediately integrated into the teaching sessions I provided and it enabled me to structure and tailor my teaching appropriately. It has given me the knowledge to move from delivering simple, didactic teaching to sessions that are dynamic along the teaching and learning spectrum incorporating different teaching methods and styles into the sessions delivered.

Although the course isn’t necessarily about delivering teaching as part of its content, you are actively encouraged and expected throughout to apply the knowledge to every session you deliver and be continually reflective on your behaviours so that you develop yourself as an evolving teacher. Because of this I have become critical of my teaching style and use every session as a means to evaluate my position with the aim to continually develop my teaching role.

Having been taught the importance of assessing teaching and gaining feedback, it has provided the means to reflect on my role. What has been especially good about this course is the how the content can be applied regardless of the type of teaching session. The teaching opportunities I have had to date have mostly been small, individual tutorials however the knowledge is equally applicable to those who have formal teaching positions.

Obtaining the PgCert Med Ed is a highly valued qualification.  Completion of this course aided me in successful appointment to Clinical Radiology training. During my interview it was a point of discussion that led onto the importance of teaching in medicine and the value that this course has to help deliver that.  I foresee this as also being a huge advantage for completion of CCT.

If one sees themselves as undertaking a significant teaching responsibility throughout their career, this course is the beginning to the Masters level qualification so having the certificate is a significant step closer to achieving this.

The content acquired from the course means that as teaching is becoming an assessed facet of most of the postgraduate curricula you are in a better position to meet and engage in these mandatory assessments. The knowledge and skills acquired will aid not only better delivery of your own sessions for the learners but gain the competencies when assessed as part of the postgraduate curriculum.

The course will encourage you to become involved in teaching and learning opportunities locally and potentially further afield therefore building up a portfolio of activities and boosting your CV.  Because of the theoretical nature of the course, one can also contribute to the literature that can further develop one’s skills and potentially lead to published material that will significantly enhance your portfolio.

The course is delivered by a selection of extremely experienced and knowledgable individuals. They are enthusiastic, engage continually with the group and constantly challenge your own ideas and preconceptions about medical education. As one would expect with this course, a huge array of teaching methods are used to deliver the content and maintain your interest and as such each session is intricately structured and covers a significant amount of content. Overall the quality was exceptionally high and I was extremely impressed with the individuals who delivered this course.

I feel the course has given me detailed knowledge about the theory of medical education that I can now employ in my roles as a medical educator. The skills gained have already reshaped how I approach the sessions I deliver and I have become reflective of my own behaviours and more critical of medical education as a whole. The assessments allow you to explore the areas of education that you are personally interested in so that the course on some level can be tailored to your own interests. This can allow you to customise the course to your position in education.

Because of the breadth of content you will undoubtedly discover facets of medical education you were not aware of that will further develop your knowledge and skills and offer new approaches to become a better teacher.  In summary, therefore, I would recommend this course to anyone who takes their role in education seriously and wants to develop themselves into an effective medical educator but also someone who is interested in the theory behind medical education and its application.