Skip to main content

Unit information: Clinical Unit 3 in 2021/22

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 Clinical Unit 3
Unit code BRMSM0041
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mr. Evans
Open unit status Not open

Candidates must be enrolled in a surgical training programme leading to a certificate of completion of training in orthopaedic surgery



School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aims of the unit are to:

  • Facilitate individualised learning by the co-creation of a relevant clinical question by both candidate and Clinical Unit lead within a chosen sub-specialty field not already covered in Clinical Unit 1 or 2.
  • Provide the opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and application of advanced surgical theories and techniques in their chosen sub-specialty field.
  • Allow students to demonstrate skills acquired on the MSc including but not limited to: defining a research question, literature searching, critical appraisal and triangulation of evidence.
  • Provide an opportunity to gain and develop skills in presentation of work at an academic conference.
  • Preserve the clinical relevance of the programme

For each of the four clinical units, candidates will select a topic within a sub-specialty field of trauma & orthopaedics to study in greater depth. This section of the programme is not aiming to add to the core clinical knowledge of the practising clinician but to enhance translational skills and knowledge to show added value beyond that offered by higher surgical training programmes. Candidates should pose a question (using the Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome, Study Design (PICOS) framework) they would hypothetically wish to ask themselves as a day one consultant in trauma & orthopaedic surgery, working within the specified sub-specialty field. Having defined and agreed the question with the Unit lead, students will use evidence-based medicine skills, acquired through the MSc in orthopaedic surgery, to answer their own question. It is expected that the answer will use a range of resources including (but not limited to) published literature (found using a formal search strategy), national guidelines, local policy, and expert opinion. Candidates should present up-to-date information relevant to a practicing clinician in the UK. Candidates will have six months to complete each clinical unit, it is expected that students will submit their proposed question within two weeks of the start of the Unit and the Unit lead is to have approved clinical questions within four weeks of the start of the Unit.

The available sub-speciality fields include upper limb (shoulder and elbow) surgery, spine surgery, paediatric orthopaedic surgery, orthopaedic trauma surgery, orthopaedic hand surgery, knee surgery, hip surgery, foot and ankle surgery. Other sub-specialty areas may be used on the agreement of the Unit lead and Programme Director(s). Students are strongly encouraged to choose the sub-specialty field in line with their current clinical training rotation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

To be awarded credit for this unit, candidates must show that they have:

  • Co-created a relevant clinical question within a chosen sub-specialty field different to the fields chosen in Clinical Unit 1 and 2.
  • Understood, evaluated and analysed the clinical and scientific principles of a specific topic within the chosen sub-specialty field sufficient to explain the current and/or potential future diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to non-subspecialist peers.
  • Exceeded the knowledge required about the chosen sub-specialty field for post graduate trauma and orthopaedic surgical examinations.
  • Applied literature search and critical appraisal skills to find and appraise the published evidence regarding the chosen sub-specialty field showing higher level inquisitiveness, initiative and academic ability.
  • Created and presented a scientific poster to a professional audience to demonstrate a professional level of written and spoken communication of complex concepts and problems within the chosen sub-specialty field.
  • Understood the role of and applied reflective assessment in the analysis and evaluation of learning new skills relevant to a clinician scientist.
  • Understand and employ time management strategies and adaptive capacity to deliver on self-set deadlines

Teaching Information

Learning will primarily be self-directed but supported with cross-over learning from the Research Methods 1 and 2 units.

It is anticipated that learning methods will include, but not be limited to:

  • Self-directed reading of relevant texts
  • Studying relevant published literature
  • Discussions with senior local clinicians

Assessment Information

The Unit is allocated 20 credits. Clinical Unit 3 will be assessed with two summative assignments: a reflective written piece of work and a poster presentation.

Candidates will prepare a 2000 word structured reflection, which will be guided by the following instructions:

  • Briefly summarise your understanding of the key concepts that you have encountered during your self-directed learning in this clinical module.
  • Discuss these concepts and how they fit within the framework of current clinical practice.
  • How has your understanding of these concepts changed during this module? State the knowledge you have gained through this experience and how you will apply it to your future clinical practice. This may include a bullet point list of actions if appropriate.

This reflection should also contain an additional 500-word section reflecting on the evidence of completion of the learning objectives. This will consist of structured answers to the following instructions:

  • Briefly summarise how you answered your co-created question for this clinical unit.
  • Discuss the impact of the way you approached this Clinical Unit and answered your co-created question.
  • How will you adapt the process for future clinical modules or when answering clinical questions in the future using evidence-based medicine techniques?

Secondly, candidates will be asked to present a scientific poster of their topic of study at an annual examination day. The design and delivery of these will be mentored by the Clinical Unit Lead. This will be the opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their skills in the presentation of newly acquired material as expected at academic conferences and to answer questions from an expert panel of clinical academics. Students will be expected to stand by their posters (either in person or virtually) and there will be five minutes of questioning during which the examiners will test the candidate on the breadth of their knowledge and understanding of related principles. There will be an opportunity to submit a poster as a formative assignment allowing the opportunity for feedback and a chance to improve before submission of the summative poster. This will ensure that candidates maintain momentum in producing their work. Following the annual formal assessment, the examiners comments will be returned to the candidates to facilitate subsequent improvement. Each clinical unit represents 20 credits with marks broken down as follows:

  • Reflective written piece of work: 50%
  • Poster presentation: 50%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BRMSM0041).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.