Gateway 2 Medicine:  establishing a holistic programme for widening access students.

Dr Pietro MariniDr Pietro Marini, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

Name and code of course to which the example relates: Gateway 2 Medicine

Number of students affected: 25 per year

During which session did this take place?  Whole Academic Year

Context: The Gateway to Medicine programme (G2M) was introduced in collaboration with NESCol in 2017 with the aim of recruiting students from a wider range of backgrounds than is traditional in medical students. This brand-new programme was created by taking into consideration three main barriers that historically prevent students from widening access backgrounds applying to medicine: · underachievement in science in some schools · community and school cultures where aspiring to medicine was unusual · apprehension about the potential challenges of a medical degree The main goals of the programme are therefore to provide a firm foundation in scientific knowledge via existing NESCol and University of Aberdeen taught courses, but also to deliver a co-curricular programme that will equip students with the right skills and attitudes to enable them to perform well in the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) and the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) that are required for entry to medicine.

Activity: The G2M programme is a one-year programme with the first half—session at NESCol and the second at the University of Aberdeen. The programme, alongside classical taught courses in human biology and in chemistry, offers a plethora of co-curricular activities that have been created ex-novo to prepare students for the MBChB degree. We have created or contributed to the creation of lectures and workshops on Reflective Writing Skills, Professionalism, Observational and Communication skills, MMI interview skills, the UCAT test, Financial Management, and Anatomy (teaching and practical). All these activities are in place with the aim to cultivate and fortify students’ motivation as well as to enhance essential qualities that these students would not be able to acquire otherwise. We also provide constant and intense pastoral care through a dedicated tutor (myself), MBChB regents and mentors from AMOS

How did you evaluate the effectiveness of the activity?  The G2M programme is evaluated each year through a student survey. 93% of students said they felt engaged in the activities. Overall, 96% of students rated the programme as excellent or very good. On the teaching side, 81% of students said that teaching staff was approachable and 69% of students said teaching was effective. The quality of curriculum was rated as very good/good by 81% of students, while quality of academic advising and guidance was rated as very good/good by 66% of students. When asked to rate how helpful was the advice received by the tutor, 91% of students said: it was very helpful/helpful, and 73% of student strongly agree/agree that tutor was supportive. Along with surveys, focus groups are organised where G2M students’ progression and satisfaction are constantly monitored. Over the first two years of the programme, 38/40 students have successfully progressed to the MBChB programmes.

Impact of the activity: The successful progression of 38 students has already increased the diversity of students in our MBChB programme. The G2M curriculum has been designed for students and the impact on students’ experience is clearly demonstrated by the feedback we have received. The students have clearly benefitted by participating in the G2M programme: - “I do feel the G2M programme is important in opening doors into medicine”. - “I have enjoyed this course; the support has been great, and these are good transitions into Medicine. A fantastic stepping stone course.” - “The course coordinators getting involved, being comfortable with the whole group and being able to help each other, getting an experience of university life before entering medicine”. - “The people, the experience, the step up.” The G2M has also received attention from the media and has been recognised as a valuable programme for disadvantaged students. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/1600909/budding-doctors-will-study-medicine-after-taking-part-in-aberdeen-university-initiative/ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-39926335 https://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/newsroom/media-releases/medical-awards-recognise-excellence-across-scotland.aspx

Dissemination: Since 2017, I have disseminated our G2M programme via different national/international conference presentations and posters. The programme has been presented at the National Scottish Medical Education conference (winner of the prestigious “Process, Development and Implementation” Award, 2018), at the College EXPO (2018) and recently at the Medical Student conference on Widening participation (2019). The G2M programme is also represented at the national “Gateway and Foundation Leaders” network where we regularly provide inputs for the implementation, revision and evaluation of the national widening participation programme. Finally, the G2M programme is disseminated in both primary and secondary schools across North Scotland as well as during University Open Days.