South Wales student scoops UK-wide medical schools prize

Cardiff medical student Charles Pope has won a nationwide competition aimed at promoting professionalism among future doctors.

Charles, a fifth year medical student at the University of Cardiff, won first prize for his workshop on honesty and integrity which followed a ‘choose your own adventure’ theme to pose a range of scenarios with choices to show how difficult it can be for doctors when making decisions.

The competition was organised jointly by the General Medical Council and the Medical Schools Council, and Charles’s seminar beat nearly 40 entries from more than 60 medical students studying across 19 different medical schools across the UK.

The competition, which is now in its second year, asks medical students develop a teaching session based on the GMC’s guidance for would-be doctors on how to achieve the required standards expected of them once they qualify.

As well as winning £300 shopping vouchers, Charles was invited to present his winning session at the annual Developing Excellence in Medical Education Conference (DEMEC) in Manchester in front of an audience of doctors, patients, employers, educators and representatives from the GMC and MSC.
Charles, who is from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, said: ‘It was good fun designing the teaching session, and I’m glad the judges enjoyed my submission.

‘Honesty and integrity are vital when interacting with patients and colleagues, both as students and as doctors, as it forms the foundation for the trust patients put in us when we provide care.
‘I hope my session is helpful for students to start thinking about the importance of honesty when on placement, as well learning the GMC’s guidance on the topic, which I’ve found very useful for my studies.’

Dr Colin Melville, the General Medical Council’s Director of Education and Standards, who was part of the judging panel, said:

‘The standard of entries was very high with some exciting and innovative approaches which made judging difficult. Charles’s entry demonstrated clearly and imaginatively the importance of honesty and integrity that we expect from doctors.

‘As well as being very engaging it highlighted important learning points and showed that whilst you control the decisions you make there may be unanticipated consequences.

‘His submission delivers a very clear message that there are factors beyond a doctor’s control when making decisions about professional behaviour.

‘Our guidance - Achieving good medical practice – is designed to support the next generation of doctors in developing professional behaviours of doctors, and will help them establish the highest standards of professionalism for their future career.’

Fellow judge and Policy Adviser at Medical Schools Council, Clare Owen, said: ‘A huge congratulations to Charles from the Medical Schools Council.

‘His entry exemplifies how honesty and integrity is an essential aspect of professionalism. We know that next to the large amount of clinical knowledge that students have to learn while at medical school, professionalism can sometimes seem less important, but Charles’s entry demonstrates that its importance can be emphasised to students in a fun and relatable way.

‘Well done to Charles and all UK medical students for their work in understanding professionalism – it is a vital part of their future service to the public.’


Notes to editors

The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
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