General Practice clinical placements at Warwick Medical School

Details of the placement

Warwick Medical School organises an extensive programme of General Practice (GP) placements for its MBChB graduate-entry medicine programme. Students practise in four different GP surgeries between the second and fourth year of their course.

In their second year, students go to three different GP practices once a week for 21 weeks. During this time, they undertake student-led consultations with feedback given from the observing GP, as well as doing an audit and extended patient encounters.

Over the third and fourth years, students undertake one six-week specialist GP placement at a practice for three days per week. Here, in addition to undertaking student-led observed consultations, they also run independent surgeries. They attend weekly tutorials at the medical school to complement their days in practice.

Extremely engaging and helpful clinical supervisor took time to provide excellent and detailed feedback. Plenty of useful patient contact. Opportunities to interact with all members of the practice team. The entire placement was a pleasurable and valuable experience.
Medical student

Good practice and innovative elements

  • Students are exposed to a wide variety of GP practices and patients. This includes patients in urban and rural settings, practices with high refugee populations, deprived populations, and practices with a high percentage of elderly patients.
  • The students benefit from having a real hands-on approach with a focus on 'being immersed clinically' right from the start.
  • Students are involved in all areas of general practice during their placements. For example, undertaking an audit, attending minor operations, and visiting community hospitals and patients’ homes.
  • Therapeutics and especially deprescribing are taught, and examples are worked through by the students.
  • Students are able to work with a variety of health care professionals during the placements including paramedics, physiotherapists, and pharmacists.
  • They practise consultations with groups of simulated patients as part of their weekly tutorials at the medical school. This allows them to practice having difficult conversations, in a safe and protected environment.
  • During their third and fourth year, they are required to video (double encrypted) at least two of their patient-consultations, which although daunting are extremely helpful for personal development. These are then observed, and the students given feedback.
  • The creation of a virtual GP patient. Students meet their patient, Clinton Jones, during the first year of their medical degree and then follow him throughout the course, including their student assistantship, where they learn about death certificates.
The staff were all really friendly at the GP practice and the practice manager was really helpful when it came to running the audit. The practice also serves a population where a lot of patients do not speak English so it was useful to be able to practise taking histories using an interpreter.
Medical student

Positive outcomes

  • Students have multiple virtual encounters with Clinton over the course of their degree, replicating long-term patient care in general practice. They work through his clinical presentations, case management, test results and a discharge summary. They also continue to see him for follow-up appointments, until his death at the end of the course.
  • The medical school values its external GP tutors. Annual update events are delivered at the medical school, as well as new tutor training courses. There is a dedicated website for external GP tutors and Practice Managers, which includes tutor training resources, and useful information.
  • The medical school and GP practices work hard to welcome students and make them feel valued members of the team. Adjustments for students are made where required, and health, cultural, and religious beliefs are taken into account. Specific facilities, such as prayer rooms are provided.
  • The GP tutors and practices that support the placement are very positive about the impact it has. Some of the tutors involved were previously students at Warwick, and now teach students in their own practices.
My practice was incredibly welcoming and supportive. I can't express enough how amazing all the GPs and allied health care professionals have been, I really felt like a valued part of the team. The GPs would share about their days and discuss patients with us for our learning and we were really encouraged to think critically and contribute to the management of patients. My GP tutor was very supportive and made me feel comfortable discussing anything I found emotionally challenging and any other worries I had.
Medical student