Interprofessional clinical placement at St Andrews School of Medicine

Details of the placement

Medical students from St Andrews School of Medicine undertake a one-day placement at Glenrothes Community Hospital. They go on the placement alongside nursing students from the University of Dundee. The interprofessional placement follows a structured timetable of varied activities. These include attending a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting, taking real patient histories, reviewing ECGs and X-rays, and practising prescribing and discussing medication safety with the pharmacist.

The placement is led by three clinical tutors, a GP, pharmacist, and a senior nurse tutor. Glenrothes community hospital has three wards, an outpatient clinic and day hospital, and an X-ray department. Patients on the wards tend to be elderly, with a wide range of clinical presentations.

Clinical tutors have developed a very positive working relationship with hospital staff which is key for facilitating learning.
Medical student

Good practice and innovative elements

  • This placement offers medical students a unique interprofessional opportunity to work alongside student nurses, and to learn from each other’s different training programmes and perspectives on patient care.
  • The students benefit from an interprofessional clinical tutor group, which gives them a varied range of specialty teaching. The students really value the session on prescribing from a pharmacist which is unique to the community placements at St Andrews.
  • The students work with a wide range of other healthcare professionals. Interaction with physiotherapists and occupational therapists helps with their understanding of the different professions.
  • The students attend an MDT meeting (often their first), which is a great opportunity to develop their networking skills with other professions, and help to prepare them for the healthcare setting they’ll be working in.
  • The knowledgeable and approachable clinical tutor team is a clear positive. It is obvious from the very start that the students felt at ease to ask questions and practise their skills in a supportive environment.
  • There is a short but extremely helpful acronym busting session. Students feel comfortable questioning acronyms they have come across in the handover chart.
  • The students get clear instructions on where to go and when in advance of attending the placement. They can also email the tutors directly to ask questions or discuss specific learning outcomes.
  • The placement has set learning outcomes which are detailed in the placement guide. Students can set personalised learning goals on an online portal, which is accessible to tutors. The students also have the opportunity to outline personalised learning outcomes in the morning induction session, which the tutors are very supportive of and accommodate where possible.
The placement is so successful because of the level of engagement of the staff who are very enthusiastic, and student-focused.
Medical student

Positive outcomes

  • While other community hospital placements are offered in the area, this is the only one that combines the community and interprofessional aspects. All the students commented on how important it was to foster connections with other professionals at an early stage to really understand and value the different roles in an MDT.
  • Students gain a holistic view on patient care. This involves looking at both the social and medical needs, and the professions involved in the patient’s journey. For example, students learn about patient discharge plans and what can impact a patient’s ability to consent and advocate for themselves.
  • Close collaboration between St Andrew’s School of Medicine and the placement organisers means that they are told in advance if any students need reasonable adjustments, or if any interactions with patients with particular conditions may cause distress.
  • The supportive and enthusiastic nature of the clinical tutor group is clearly extended to the GPs and other members of staff. This has resulted in the creation of a very positive student-focused learning environment throughout the hospital. Before the start of each term the tutors meet with the charge nurses to discuss what the students should be getting from the placement and to make sure they are aware of learning outcomes.
This placement really helps with teamwork and approaching professionals who I might have been apprehensive to approach before.
Medical student