Essential Skills in Medical Education for Students (ESMES)

Pre-European Regional Meeeting 2014, Krakow

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I must say that when I sent in the application to attend Pre-EuRegMe, in February I applied blindly. I hoped to be chosen but was also uncertain, not knowing exactly what to expect nor why I was applying really. Little did I know what an enriching experience this would prove to be!

Out of the many Pre-EuRegMe workshops I decided on Essential Skills in Medical Education for Students (ESMES) as I am an ardent SCOMEdian. At the beginning of the workshop we were asked what our expectations for the three days were. At first I was at a loss, but after collecting my thoughts I expected to gain more skills in medical education to be a better student representative. Seeing other participants from different nationalities I appreciated the contributions they would make both from their culture and vast experience in SCOME.

During this workshop we covered a lot of areas relating to medical education. We started from the very basics of education; comparing pedagogy with andragogy. As adults we are responsible for our education, however adults also need to be motivated to learn. The importance of e-learning was also emphasised, as technology forms a major part of our lives so it is something that should be used to facilitate learning rather than seen as the enemy. We also came across a plethora of acronyms, such as SPICES (Student-centred, Problem-based, Integrated, Community-based, Elective driven and Systematic). The SPICES model is a model of medical education. We were able to apply the SPICES model to our curricula, and each curriculum was then evaluated.

As for evaluation of medical education another tool was used- QUEST (Quality, Utility, Extent, Strength and Target). Evaluation of medical education should be based a lot on evidence. It is useful many times to tackle the outcomes of medical education retrospectively. Faculties should define outcomes and guide students to achieve those outcomes. Outcome-based learning has many advantages such as, uniformity, accountability and quality assurance. Another important aspect is accreditation of faculties by externals.

Reliable education systems are needed to establish a curriculum. The subject of curriculum design and development was also addressed during the workshop. For a curriculum to come into effect a mission must be proposed, the needs of the stakeholders must be identified, objectives need to be created, appropriate educational strategies need to be established, students must be assessed and the curriculum monitored and evaluated. We shared our countries’ curriculum and together we discussed ways of making them better and possibilities of bringing about change.

A session which I found highly interesting was the access to medical training in Europe. A workshop was held about this topic and a report was issued. This report deals with the current problems in the structure of residency and its influence on mobility in the European region. After we were given an overview of the report, we voiced our concerns relating to our respective countries and what can be done to improve residency, ensure employment and enhance mobility.

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What is there left to say? I will never forget this Pre-EuRegMe. It has coloured my life in so many ways. Through the sessions and with the help of other participants I became more knowledgeable about medical education and related issues. By sharing of different experiences and perspectives my horizons were broadened. Above all, this Pre-EuRegMe motivated me to speak out for my education and be strong enough to advocate for change where needed.

I would like to show my utmost gratitude to the organisers of ESMEs for sharing their inspiring and extensive experience. I would also like to thank my fellow participants for sharing their thoughts, enthusiasm and most of all their friendship.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela

This blog post was written by Sarah Bowman, MMSA Malta

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