A Celebration of Partnership
Teaching in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery
Teaching in 2007
Selected teaching activities in the University Departments of Medicine and Surgery*
1957 The Department of Medicine contributes to the undergraduate teaching program.
1958 Every fourth year student spends a period as a dresser in the Professorial Unit of the Department of Surgery at the Alfred Hospital. The department appoints tutors who are responsible for the supervision of students during their period of Casualty residence.
A meeting of students and their lecturer held
in the conference room, where students
prepared and presented a topic of their own
choice to their colleagues and Department of
Medicine staff members, 1957.
1962 Publication of a textbook by Professor R Lovell and Dr A Doyle for the use of students in the Clinical Introductory Course.
1963 Teaching activities in the Department of Medicine expand to include regular post-graduate rounds and conferences.
1965 A change in curriculum permits fourth year students to spend more time in the hospital.
A new course to help bridge the gap between pre-clinical and clinical years is introduced, which involves individual tutoring of every student who joins the Clinical School.
1966 Professor Lovell reports a growing trend among undergraduate students to try to
obtain some experience in research either in the summer vacation, or for a whole year
in order to obtain the newly established degree of Bachelor of Medical Science.
Professor Ewing reports on a reduction in the number of new patients attending the surgical outpatient clinics. This results in increasing pressure within the department to honour its teaching responsibilities in undergraduate teaching, as well as making it difficult to train surgeons.
1967 Teaching activities include the annual organisation of a lecture course in postgraduate medicine, developed primarily for hospital Residents and Registrars.
1968 The Department of Medicine starts to study the use of multiple-choice questions in evaluating student and teacher performances.
Within the Department of Surgery, the attitudes of fourth year students to their teaching in physical signs in surgery are canvassed, as are the methods of teaching of fourth year tutors. This leads to a recommendation for a new course of 15 lectures/demonstrations in trauma.
1969 Revision of the final MBBS examination in Medicine includes multiple-choice questions.
1970 Professor Ewing reports that the development of microsurgical techniques with an operating microscope assists members of the surgical staff of the hospital learn the exacting technical requirements of this work.
1971 For the first time there are no essay type questions in the final examination in Medicine, as they are replaced by multiple-choice questions. In addition, students whose clinical instructors give them appropriate certificates of competence are excused the clinical “long-case” in an effort to reduce the length of the final examination.
Within the Department of Surgery, undergraduate teaching in the outpatient clinics is temporarily abandoned due to the continual reduction in the number of new surgical patients presenting at the clinics.
1973 A growing burden of undergraduate teaching is reported by Professor Ewing.
1974 Within the Department of Medicine, an expansion of undergraduate teaching in community health and related subjects is introduced in the new pre-clinical courses, Medical Studies I and II.
1976 The undergraduate teaching of the Department of Medicine in the new curriculum is concentrated on fourth year students.
Professor Richard Lovell demonstrating a
procedure to fourth year medical students,
The Department of Surgery reports a continued progression in the use of colour television in the training of medical and paramedical groups.
1977 An amendment to the new fourth year undergraduate program results in all fourth year students spending at least six weeks clerking in the Department of Medicine’s wards.
1978 The Department of Surgery reports that students receive an intensive training program for six weeks during their fourth year clinical training, a unique aspect of which is a course in medical humanities.
1980 The University recognises the need to strengthen teaching in Clinical Pharmacology, with an extra staff appointment in this area, within the Department of Medicine.
1983 The teaching commitments of the Department of Surgery expand with the implementation of the new clinical curriculum, compounded by the withdrawal of the RMH clinical students from the Western General Hospital.
1984 The Department of Surgery reports that the undergraduate teaching commitments of the department continue to exert considerable pressure, with this being made more acute by the withdrawal of the RMH students from the Western General Hospital, and the failure of Essendon and District Memorial Hospital to open as had been anticipated. Fourth year students are rotated to Goulburn Valley Base Hospital in Shepparton, with the problems of time and distance creating difficulties in the supervision of continuing teaching.
1993 The Department of Medicine becomes involved in running an independent BSc Honours course.
A graduate student practising
microsurgery techniques in laboratories
within the Department of Surgery in 1995.
1997 Creation of a special Surgical Education Unit within the Department of Surgery with a brief to improve the already high standard of medical student education in the hospital, in particular to transform the undergraduate teaching of surgery.
1998 The Department of Surgery becomes involved in running an independent BSc Honours course.
The Surgical Education Unit uses in-house, state-of-the-art digital video and audio editing suites to develop interactive clinical teaching material and publish them on the Internet and in cross-platform hybrid Web/CD-ROM formats. This assists the Medical Faculty to change from the traditional subject-based course to a new integrated systems/problem-based medical curriculum beginning in March 1999.
2001 New Bachelor of Medical Science course in Surgery commences during the seventh and
eighth semesters of the new medical curriculum.
*As identified in the RMH Annual Reports 1956-2002 and the Alfred Hospital Annual Reports 1956-1963. Note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of all teaching activities undertaken by the two Departments.
Teaching in 2007
Department of Medicine
The Royal Melbourne Hospital/Western Hospital Clinical School is responsible for the teaching of undergraduate medical students but departmental staff are involved in the clinical and pre-clinical training of medical students and have an active role in postgraduate education. The department offers postgraduate courses, PhD and MD, as well as a BSc Honours year or an elective year of study to the University's Advanced Medical Science students. The department also welcomes undergraduate students wishing to gain authentic research experience.
The department hosts interactive sessions for undergraduates and postgraduates in the context of a ‘learning organisation’ of continuing education and enquiry into practice and theory of medicine, such as professorial morning reports, journal clubs, and participation in courses of evidence-based medicine to ‘train the trainers’ of medical graduates.
Department of Surgery
The members of the department are heavily involved in clinical teaching for third year students in their Introductory Term of nine weeks of single afternoon tutorials in the hospital, the intensive three week Introductory Course for fourth year students and the four terms of clinical teaching of fourth year students. Final year students are assigned two to a unit and act as student interns and members of the department play a significant role in their overall supervision and training. Many members of the department take part in the examinations both for fourth year and final year students. All members of the department give tutorials and lectures and lecture/demonstrations to final year students in their relevant specialty and are involved with designing the teaching program in the final year.
Individual members of the department give lectures to preclinical students, mainly second or third year students. The department is also responsible for teaching and examination of Surgery in the Dental Course.
In addition, all the clinically trained staff of the department take part in the coursework and clinical tutorial programs for postgraduate trainees undertaking the FRACS examination and also run a weekly tutorial program for general surgery trainees at the hospital.