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Unit information: Human Basis of Medicine in 2014/15

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Human Basis of Medicine
Unit code MEDI11110
Credit points 0
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Ruud ter Meulen
Open unit status Not open

Must be on the MB ChB Programme.



School/department Health Sciences Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Open to MB ChB students only.

First part of intended learning outcomes:

  • Observe clinical phenomena & critical analysis of clinical data.
  • Understand the levels of Health & Illness & the scales at which problems can be viewed.
  • Appreciate links between emotions & bodily health.
  • Understand self-healing & how to trigger it.
  • Understand the adjustments that occur following life changes such as bereavement.
  • Comprehend what being a doctor within the NHS entails.
  • Understand that health is a moral category. Explain the concept of stigma & the related notions of normality, disease & illness, private & public accounts of sickness.
  • Outline the concept of risk.
  • Explain the concept of the illness iceberg. Discuss how lay people diagnose & respond to symptoms of illness. Describe factors that can influence decisions to seek health care, including lay epidemiology, barriers to help-seeking & the lay referral network.
  • Describe health inequalities in Britain in terms of social class, ethnicity & gender. Discuss material, lifestyle & psychosocial explanations for these patterns. Define agency & structural constraint, & explain how these terms relate to health inequities.
  • Understand how patients’ experiences of healthcare are affected by doctor-patient relationships and how these may differ. Understand how the placebo response relates to doctor-patient relationships.
  • Explain the concepts of shared decision-making, compliance & concordance.
  • Recognise & describe study design & statistical analyses used by clinical epidemiologists, medical sociologists and anthropologists.
  • Interpret appropriate statistical analyses to test hypotheses.
  • Undertake basic qualitative analysis.
  • Critically appraise & interpret research findings; interpret appropriate statistical analyses to test hypotheses.
  • Describe the ethical dimensions of RCTs: clinical equipoise, informed consent.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes cont'd from above:

  • Conduct an interview with a patient during a home visit. Reflect on the patient's illness narrative & experience of health care. Understand the assessment of holism.
  • Observe & consider skills that contribute to good verbal & non verbal communication skills.
  • Explain the concept of medical pluralism & describe its key features. Describe a non-biomedical framework for understanding health care systems.
  • Understand other perspectives when treating patients. Consider how far different types of health care (both biomedical & non-biomedical) are available to people & the reasons why patients may pursue non-biomedical treatment options. Understand why it is important for doctors to be aware of the existence of other types of health care.
  • Discuss ethical principles surrounding professional behaviour. Understand the moral basis of confidentiality; law & guidelines; patients’ expectations of confidentiality and circumstances that could lead to it being breached. Demonstrate maintaining confidentiality & gain consent to use patient narratives in assignments.
  • Understand the contribution of ethics to medical practice: Explain the importance of values in medical practice; present different moral traditions; understand the limits of autonomy.
  • Understand theories that inform ethical analysis. Engage in critical reflection about these & their applications.
  • Understand the relationship between ethics & the law & how the law is applied in medicine.
  • Discuss the importance & challenges surrounding collaboration between health & social care professionals & those receiving care & their carers.
  • Identify the implications for doctors of current community care arrangements.
  • Understand the importance of team-working.
  • Understand how social & technological changes are challenging the dominance of medicine in healthcare delivery & changing the role of doctors in society. Consider how the role of the medical profession may develop in the future.
  • Recognise own personal health needs, consult & follow the advice of a suitably qualified professional, & protect patients from any risk posed by own health.

Teaching Information

Teaching is provided by the School of Social and Community Medicine and comprises a mixture of: Lectures Small group tutorials Visits to primary care Follow-up presentations of experiences of meeting patients Clinical demonstrations Library-based project work.

Assessment Information

  • Best of 5 Single Best Answer
  • Tutorial or Practical Formative Performance
  • Short notes and essay paper

Reading and References

Library link