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Unit information: Human Basis of Medicine in 2015/16

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 Dr. Brookes
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

HBoM introduces students to people as part of populations, as part of society, as individuals, and as patients seeking health care in general practice or hospital settings.

The Unit consists of 5 elements:

1. Clinical Epidemiology (1st semester) (CE)

2. Ethics in Law and Medicine (1st semester)

3. Society, Health and Medicine (1st semester) (SHM)

4. Primary Care Attachments (1st and the 2nd semester)

5. Whole Person Care (2nd semester) (WPC)

Intended Learning Outcomes

Clinical Epidemiology

At the end of the element students will be able to discuss:

  • Critically appraise the results of relevant diagnostic, prognostic and treatment trials and other qualitative and quantitative studies as reported in the medical and scientific literature;
  • Formulate simple relevant research questions in biomedical science, psychosocial science or population science, and design appropriate studies or experiments to address the questions;
  • Apply findings from the literature to answer questions raised by specific clinical problems.

Society, Health and Medicine

At the end of the element students will be able to discuss:

  • how people experience health and illness
  • why becoming ill is a social as well as a biological process
  • the different perspectives of doctors and patients
  • the different styles of doctor – patient relationships
  • why people might choose treatments outside of biomedicine
  • how the human body has a social as well as a physical reality
  • that chronic illness and disability are social as well as individual phenomena
  • how doctors can best meet the needs of informal carers
  • how patients and health care professionals view and cope with death
  • how social status can influence health outcomes
  • the different roles medical practitioners may have in society

Ethics and Law in Medicine

At the end of the element students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main features of the ethical theories
  • Apply medical ethics theory in a medical context
  • Demonstrate understanding of the relationship between ethics, the law and professional practice in medicine
  • Demonstrate ethical reasoning, especially through argument

Primary Care

By the end of the GP attachment students will be able to:

  • Recognize skills that contribute to good verbal and non-verbal communication (through observation of GP consultations)
  • Demonstrate ability to maintain confidentiality (during the attachment) and gain patient consent (to use narratives in your assignments)
  • Apply early consultation skills, and reflect on a patient’s illness narrative and experience of health care (through conducting an interview with a patient during a home visit)
  • Practice basic clinical skills such as taking a temperature, blood pressure and pulse.
  • Integrate theoretical learning from the other elements of the Human Basis of Medicine (HBoM) unit with clinical practice to demonstrate a better comprehension of being a doctor in the NHS (through discussion with GP tutor)
  • Demonstrate skills in self and peer assessment and giving feedback.

Whole Person Care

By the end of the element students will be able to describe:

  • How health and illness exist at many levels with the human system, from the molecular to the global, and the different types of intervention needed at different levels
  • The concept of resilience within systems and the sorts of interventions most likely to promote systemic health
  • Self-healing in the human system, that people have intrinsic abilities to regain health in the face of external and internal threats (this viewed through the lens of the placebo effect)
  • The Art of Medicine in at least two senses. That aspect of clinical practice where we listen well and respond with true compassion, but also the actual “Arts and Humanities” (literature, history, philosophy, painting, theatre) as applied to medicine
  • The role of emotions in health and how these relate to neuro-endocrine function and particular diseases and conditions
  • Self-care and self-development and the things that breed resilient doctors
  • Integrative Medicine as WPC in practice, integrating orthodox medicine, approaches to lifestyle, complementary medicines all within a therapeutic relationship

Teaching Information

Teaching comprises a mixture of lectures and small group tutorials. Visits to primary care with follow-up presentations of experiences of meeting patients. Clinical demonstrations and library-based project work.

Assessment Information

Clinical Epidemiology, Society, Health and Medicine and Ethics & Law include summative assessments.

Whole Person Care and Primary Care are assessed formatively.

Assessment of Clinical Epidemiology, Society, Health and Medicine and Ethics & Law

The summative assessment for Clinical Epidemiology is a ‘best of 5’ multiple choice question (MCQ) exam paper. Society, Health and Medicine and Ethics & Law will be assessed together in a written assignment, which will include one question from Ethics & Law and 3 questions from Society, Health and Medicine. These questions may relate to a clinical scenario detailed in the assignment.

Both the exam paper and the written assignment will take place in January 2016, after the completion of these elements.

Reading and References

Library link