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Why Study Medicine at UL?
UL’s BM BS Graduate Entry Medical Programme is open to graduates from any discipline. It has a highly innovative curriculum which offers you the opportunity to complete undergraduate medical training in four years in an environment specifically designed for graduate students. During your four years of study, you will be taught the basic medical and clinical sciences necessary to form the basis for postgraduate training and for a career in any branch of medicine.
What you will study
The curriculum is taught in a traditional academic year. Years 1 & 2 are taught on campus and consist of 33 teaching weeks per year starting in August.
Years 3 & 4 commence in July and consist of clinical training, where you will rotate through the major clinical disciplines in affiliated hospitals and General Practices.
The curriculum has three main modules or domains:
- Knowledge of Health & Illness
- Clinical and Anatomical Skills
- Professional Competencies
These domains or themes run concurrently and underpin all learning across the four years. They are designed to ensure that all aspects of the skills required to become a doctor are addressed, from the sciences underpinning a rational approach to diagnosis and management to an awareness of the importance of personal development.
To find out more, click here.
How You Will Be Taught
Years 1 & 2
The first two years of the course are structured around Problem-Based Learning (PBL). This is backed up by a small number of lectures. There will also be structured clinical skills teaching and anatomical skills teaching. Teaching in the Professional Competencies takes the form of lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars on topics such as psychology, public health, health law & ethics and medical sociology. All sessions are focused towards the topic of the week and exploring it from different perspectives including the scientific, sociological, public health, legal and patient experience. This means that everything you learn is done in the context in which you will use it when you practise as a doctor.
In each of the first two years, the curriculum is further divided into six learning units, covering different topic areas. Areas covered by each unit include:
- Life Structure: Musculoskeletal system, Rheumatology, Orthopaedics, Trauma, Plastic Surgery, Skin & Dermatology
- Life Cycle: Reproduction & Development, Child Health (Paediatrics), Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Sexual Health, Ageing, Death
- Life Maintenance: Alimentary System, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Renal Medicine, Urology, Nutrition
- Life Protection: Immunology, Infection, Haematology, Oncology, Preventative Medicine, Genito- Urinary Medicine
- Life Support: Cardiology/ Cardiovascular Surgery, Respiratory Medicine, ENT
- Life Control: Nervous system, Neurology/ Neurosurgery, Vision & Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Psychology
Years 3 & 4
In Year 3, all students will be located in the General Practice/Primary Care setting in one of six Primary Care teaching Networks (PCTNs) for 18 weeks. For the remainder of Year 3, students will undergo hospital-based clinical training in Medicine and Surgery. Three weeks in Year 3 is devoted to the SSM.
In Year 4, students will spend 6 weeks of Clinical Training in each of Obsetrics/Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Psychiatry. They will also undertake another 6 weeks in Medicine & Related Specialties and a further 6 weeks in Surgery & Related Specialties. This will involve rotations through a number of affiliated hospitals. 6 weeks in Year 4 is devoted to the SSM. Students that are placed in the University Hospital Limerick (UHL) group for their Year 3 Medicine and Surgery rotations must complete theor senior cycle of Medicine and Surgery rotations in an affiliated hospital in Year 4 or vice versa.
What Problem-Based Learning (PBL) really means
The ‘problems’ are highly structured hypothetical clinical cases, each of which takes a week to work through. Each semester, students are divided into groups of seven or eight, each with its own tutor in a tutorial room, with PC, state of the art AV equipment and walls lined with whiteboards. The group meets with the tutor to work through the week’s case. The tutor does not act as a teacher, but as a facilitator, guiding your group through the sequence of steps which have been devised to help students learn from the clinical cases. Each step and new development in the case (such as results of investigations or details of drugs prescribed) is only given out after the group has finished discussing the previous step.
By working through the problem and hypothesising about what is wrong with the patient, the PBL group comes up with a list of learning issues that represent the key knowledge needed to understand what is happening to the patient. The group members then independently research these learning issues (also known as learning objectives) in their own time. At the next PBL tutorial, each group discusses what they have learned and the tutor distributes the next stage of the problem. The new information is discussed, new learning issues arrived at, and members again research independently. The group report back again and the final stage of the problem is explored and the case concluded. By this time, the group is likely to have worked through:
- The original presentation of the patient (either at A&E, an outpatient clinic or a GP clinic)
- The history taken by the doctor
- The examination findings
- Any investigations ordered and their findings (e.g. Blood results, x-rays, biopsies, etc)
- The course of the patient's illness (over hours, days, weeks, months or years) and the impact of this on the patient's life
- Treatment (pharmacological, surgical, psychiatric, etc)
- The involvement of family & others close to the patient
- Any complications that might have arisen
- The outcome of the case (including rehabilitation, on-going community care, etc.)
Independent learning times are not just about reading from textbooks. During these times, you are encouraged to visit and make use of the facilities of the Anatomical Skills Education Unit and Clinical Skills Education Unit. Staff will be on hand to provide support in whatever area you feel you need it. However, to a large extent, students in the programme will be both encouraged and expected to assume a high level of responsibility for their own learning. Students will not be ‘spoon fed’ and there is a deliberate strategy to minimise the amount of didactic teaching in the curriculum.
Early Patient Contact Programme
During the first two years, The Early Patient Contact Programme at UL- GEMS gives students an opportunity to interact with patients. In the first semester, students in groups of three are assigned a patient from an affiliated general practice. The majority of patients assigned to students in the programme have a chronic illness e.g. Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis and many have multiple illnesses. Some students may be assigned an expectant mother where they will monitor her progress during pregnancy and subsequently the early development of her child. Over the course of the following 24 months, students will get to know their patient as a person and how their illness and their illness experiences have affected their lives.
Students will be expected to interact with their patient in a variety of different settings e.g. the patient’s home, in the patient’s GP’s surgery and at their hospital clinic appointments. They may even accompany their patients to the operating theatre if they need surgery. The early patient contact programme helps students understand both health and illness and how each are managed from a patient’s perspective. The programme will also help students to appreciate the strengths and deficiencies of the health services and provide them with some insight into the relationships between providers and consumers of healthcare. Finally, the experiences students get on the early patient contact programme will assist them in their learning of their classroom-based subjects in particular Special Study Modules (SSMs) allow students to study in-depth areas that are of particular interest to them. In total, students undertake three SSMs, one in each of Years 2, 3 and 4. Students have a considerable choice over the subject of these projects, but the format for assessment is prescribed. Some students might choose to undertake their SSM locally and others may go abroad to complete these electives.
Years 3 & 4
In Year 3, all students will be located in the General Practice/Primary Care setting in one of six Primary Care Teaching Networks (PCTNs) for 18 weeks. In Year 3, all students will be located in the General Practice/Primary Care setting in one of six Primary Care Teaching Networks (PCTNs) for 18 weeks. For the remainder of Year 3, students will undergo hospital-based clinical training in Medicine and Surgery. Three weeks in Year 3 is devoted to the SSM.
In Year 4, students will spend 6 weeks of Clinical Training in each of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Psychiatry. They will also undertake another 6 weeks in Medicine & Related Specialties and a further 6 weeks in Surgery & Related Specialties. This will involve rotations through a number of affiliated hospitals. Six weeks in Year 4 is devoted to the SSM. Students that are placed in the Mid- Western Regional hospital network for their Year 3 Medicine and Surgery rotations must complete their senior cycle of Medicine and Surgery rotations in an affiliated hospital in Year 4 or vice versa.
Special Study Modules (SSMS)
Special Study Modules (Electives) allow students to study in-depth areas that are of particular interest to them. In total, students undertake three SSMs, one in each of Years 2, 3 and 4. Students have a considerable choice over the subject of these projects, but the format for assessment is prescribed. Some students might choose to undertake their SSM locally and others may go abroad to complete these electives.
Further information, including information on Fees and Semester dates, can be found on the Medical School website: https://www.ul.ie/gems
EU Entry Requirements
Candidates must hold a minimum 2.1 (second class honours, grade one) result in their first NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8). For candidates who meet this requirement, GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test) will then be used as the sole instrument to select students for the programme.
EU Application Process
Applications must be made through the CAO. Information about applying through the CAO is available at www.cao.ie. The course code for the Graduate Entry Medical Programme is LM101.
Non-EU Entry Requirements
Candidates must hold a minimum of 2.1 (second class honours, grade one) result in their first NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8). For candidates who meet this requirement GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test) or in the case of North American applicants, MCAT will be used as an instrument for selection. Non-EU applicants must also attend for interview as part of the selection process.
Non-EU Application Process
Final Applications must be made directly to the University. Application forms are available from the website: https://www.ul.ie/international and must be returned to: International Education Office, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
All Non-EU applicants should, in the first instance, contact The Atlantic Bridge Programme for admissions, applications and information on financial aid at www.atlanticbridge.com
*Indicates that not all applicants who scored these points were offered places.
† Indicates that students admitted to the programme are required to undergo a Garda Vetting process.
Careers open to you with a degree in Medicine include;
- Medical Practice in all disciplines such as Family Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Public Health Medicine etc
- Medical Research
- Medical Education
- Medical Administration
- Medical Journalism
There are a lot of early starts and late evenings in medicine! Usually, the ward round would start at about 8am and we would see each of the patients in succession. This might take anywhere from 1-5 hours depending on how many patients are under the team at that time. During the ward round, I would also have to answer any bleeps from nurses or other staff members and may also get called to an emergency situation e.g. a cardiac arrest. After the ward round, there are lots of jobs that need to get done like ordering scans and following up on results of investigations, ringing for consults and liaising with other staff members. Some patients will also need procedures undertaken like taking blood, or a catheter put in etc.
I think UL’s problem-based (PBL) approach to learning really helped to prepare me for my role as a doctor. During our PBL sessions, we encountered cases in which patients could present with anything from abdominal pain to a severe headache and it was our job as medical students to figure out what could be wrong with the patient as well as to come up with investigations and a management plan. Working now as a doctor, this process is identical - you go through the same steps as you did as a student, thanks to UL’s problem-solving approach to teaching medicine.
I think there is a lot of pressure for Leaving Cert students to know exactly what they want to do immediately when they finish school. My advice is take your time in deciding what you want to do; but if you do start something and find out you don’t like it then don’t be afraid to move on. I think there’s something out there for everyone - you just might need to be a bit more creative about how you get there and be prepared to work hard to get it!