Durham University School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health
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|University of Durham
School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health
|Dean||Prof APS Hungin OBE|
|Location||Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, England|
|Campus||Queen's Campus, University of Durham|
|Affiliations||University of Durham|
The School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health at the University of Durham was founded in 2001 as a partner with the University of Newcastle Medical School to educate medical students in the first phase of their medical education (Years 1 and 2).
The School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health is located on the Queen's Campus of the University of Durham, with students being members of one of the two colleges on this campus - John Snow and George Stephenson Colleges. Of these two colleges, the former's namesake was a physician, who became Queen Victoria's obstetrician and most famously located the source of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854.
Queen's Campus is based in Stockton-on-Tees, about 20 miles south of Durham City, where the majority of the University's colleges and departments are based. The University provides free bus services for students and staff with Arriva buses during term-time; journey times average around 45 minutes between Durham and Queen's Campus.
The yearly intake quota for medical students at Durham is 102, 95 home student places and 7 Overseas places.
The current conditional offer given to a student taking A-Level examinations is AAA, to include Biology and/or Chemistry at A-Level, and whichever may be missing at AS-Level. All applicants from October 2007 entry onwards must take the UKCAT prior to applying, an exam aimed at facilitating choosing between similarly high-achieving applicants, akin to the BMAT.
As with all UK medical students, successful applicants must have proof of immunity or non-infectivity against Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Polio, Rubella, Tetanus, Varicella and Tuberculosis. Without complete immunisation, offers may be withdrawn.
Admissions for the medical school are managed by Newcastle, and it is to the University of Newcastle (UCAS code: N21 NEWC; Course Code: A100) that all applications are made, specifying a campus preference in the appropriate box of "D" (Queen's Campus, University of Durham), "N" (University of Newcastle) or "E" (Either - an open application where the campus is assigned by the universities).
Summative examinations are held in January (first week of the Epiphany term) and May/June (first week of main examination period, Easter term) of both years. Summative assignments are set throughout both years, in varying formats, such as essays, portfolios or projects.
In assessments, students are graded on a four-point scale:
- M - merit
- S - satisfactory
- B - borderline
- U - unsatisfactory
In order to pass each year, a satisfactory grade in each marking domain must be achieved.
The three domains in which students are assessed are:
- Clinical and communication skills
- Knowledge and critical thought
- Professional behaviour
Any borderline or unsatisfactory end of year grades are met with resits in August, along with the rest of the University. There is no viva for borderline end of year grades.
Any student with merits in all three domains is entered for an optional viva, where he may be awarded a distinction grade for the year.
At Durham, students have the traditional medical sciences taught alongside their clinical relevance. For example, just before learning the physiology of the lungs, a case was presented about a girl admitted to an Accident and Emergency department with shortness of breath and other symptoms of asthma. Once the topic has been taught, a "case round-up session" is held, where formative questions are asked, some with more clinical relevance.
The curriculum also means that while, for example, learning the physiology of the lungs, their anatomy and embryological development are also taught by other departments (anatomy and embryology respectively).
The curriculum is broadly taught in the following strands, with some departments spanning many, for example, anatomy and embryology:
- Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Medicine (CVRR)
- Medicine in the Community (MiC)
- Personal and Professional Development (PPD)
- Life Cycle (LC)
- Foundation Case (CF)
- Clinical Sciences and Investigative Medicine (CSIM)
- Thoughts, Senses and Movements (TSM) (Formerly known as Neurological and Skeletomotor Systems)
- Nutrition, Metabolism and Endocrinology (NME)
- Student Selected Component (SSC)
The Foundation Case is only taught in the first three weeks of the course in the first year, and its aim is to integrate the fundamental parts of preclinical medicine. During this time, a sufferer of the disease studied, cystic fibrosis (hence the abbreviation CF), pays a visit to the medical school and students pose questions of the disease's impact on the individual and the family. It is also in the Foundation Case that a lot of the microbiology is taught, and it was here that members of previous years who hadn't taken A-Level Biology (it only became a requirement in 2007) struggled due to the immense amount of assumed knowledge. Since the recent change in admissions criteria, this should no longer be a problem.
This integrated curriculum also has implications for the students, in that they have very early patient contact, some within weeks, in the form of the Family Project, where students follow a pregnant woman through her pregnancy and into the first few months of life of the newborn in groups of two or three, and also in the form of hospital visits.
Professor APS Hungin OBE is the Dean of Medicine & Head of the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, and Professor JC McLachlan the Academic Director.
Each strand of the course has a strand leader, and many of those that lecture to the undergraduates are either not from the School for Health (generally Biological and Biomedical Sciences or Anthropology, both of whose courses span both campuses) or are from outside the University (e.g. clinical lecturers are practising clinicians in NHS hospitals).
- Dr S Forrest - MiC and Life Cycle Stage 2
- Dr M Sawdon - CVRR
- DR RP Yeo - NME
- Dr C Williamson - PPD
- Dr P Denny - CSIM
- Dr GM Finn & Mrs P White - TSM
- Dr A Chaytor - Foundation Case
- Mrs J Barbaro-Brown - Life Cycle Stage 1
A list of staff that work in the School is available .
Anatomy is taught in the strands of respective systems by the Anatomy team. Before each anatomy session - primarily in the Dissection Room - anatomy workbooks are placed on DUO for you to print out for completion prior to each taught session. This is to facilitate learning and to have a reference text for revision.
The current anatomy staff is:
- Dr GM Finn
- Dr D Ikah
- Dr M Swamy
- Mrs PM White
In addition to the above, Dr M Griksaitis, a recent graduate of the University of Newcastle Medical School, who completed Phase 1 of his medical degree at Queen's Campus, frequently assists, as do other locally based clinicians, especially surgeons.
Progression from Durham
After completing the two-year preclinical course at Queen's Campus, the vast majority of students join their University of Newcastle contemporaries in one of four base units in the North East of England for their clinical teaching:
Students have the chance to assign preferences for stage 3 (phase 2) base units, with Newcastle University providing randomization and assignment based on student preference, and their place in the generated list. Options are provided to swap assigned base units with another student of the same stage if both parties are willing. It is not possible to go to the same base unit for stage 3 and stage 5 unless a case is presented to Newcastle medical school for this requirement.
There is the opportunity to intercalate a BSc after the second year, be it at the University of Durham or the University of Newcastle. The possibility also exists after the 4th year to complete a masters degree at Newcastle University, or, if permission is given by Newcastle University, at an external institution.
After successful completion of Phase 2 (Years 3-5), the University of Newcastle confers the degrees MB BS (Medicinæ Baccalaureus and Bachelor of Surgery) upon students
UDQC (University of Durham Queen's Campus) Medsoc (Medical Society) plays an integral role in the lives of students on Queen's Campus, organising nights out to Durham and Newcastle, but also raising money for charities like Marrow UK. It also has many sports teams, which, despite the small size of the medical school (both in terms of numbers of years and yearly intake) are on par with many, much larger, medical schools.
MedSoc also produces an alternative welcome pack for 1st years before they arrive in October, which also gives a student's perspective of the recommended texts.
- Newcastle University Medical School