Academic integration for clinical competency – The ladder to success

Carlin, B. (2013) Academic integration for clinical competency – The ladder to success. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


A number of educational strategies are available for curriculum planning. Arguably the approach that has been reflected most widely in curriculum reform throughout the world in the past one or two decades has been INTEGRATION (1) The argument about integrated teaching sometimes appears to be polarised. Should there be integrated or discipline-based teaching? This is not what should be asked; rather what is important is to what extent teaching should be integrated or discipline-based. In other words, where should programmes be on the 11 stages of the continuum between fully integrated teaching at one end of the spectrum and subject-based teaching at the other? Supporting integrated services does not mean that everything has to be integrated into one package. In reality, there are many possible permutations (2) The Centre for Emergency Medical Science developed a postgraduate 2 year MSc in Emergency Medical Science (EMS) that is delivered at University College Dublin. The course is designed to prepare and assess the ability of those health care professionals/registered practitioners who are regularly involved in prehospital emergency care. There was an intentional approach to developing entry criteria that would allow a variety of health care professionals to apply to undertake the programme. This integrated student group have worked in collaboration through each module to form ideas that may improve systems and patient care considering Medical, nursing and EMS perspectives. The integration ladder was used in part during the curriculum development phase to improve the integrated learning opportunities for the students. A questionnaire of the integration framework within the curriculum was completed by past and present MSc EMS students to assess its effectiveness. The results were extremely positive in respect of the benefits of the integrated learning curriculum and its potential positive impact to patients and systems.

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