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Open Access Research article

Graduates from a reformed undergraduate medical curriculum based on Tomorrow's Doctors evaluate the effectiveness of their curriculum 6 years after graduation through interviews

Simon D Watmough*, Helen O'Sullivan and David CM Taylor

Author Affiliations

Centre for Excellence in Developing Professionalism, School of Medical Education University of Liverpool, Cedar House, Ashton Street, Liverpool, L69 3GE. UK

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:65  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-65

Published: 29 September 2010

Abstract

Background

In 1996 Liverpool reformed its medical curriculum from a traditional lecture based course to a curriculum based on the recommendations in Tomorrow's Doctors. A project has been underway since 2000 to evaluate this change. This paper focuses on the views of graduates from that reformed curriculum 6 years after they had graduated.

Methods

Between 2007 and 2009 45 interviews took place with doctors from the first two cohorts to graduate from the reformed curriculum.

Results

The interviewees felt like they had been clinically well prepared to work as doctors and in particular had graduated with good clinical and communication skills and had a good knowledge of what the role of doctor entailed. They also felt they had good self directed learning and research skills. They did feel their basic science knowledge level was weaker than traditional graduates and perceived they had to work harder to pass postgraduate exams. Whilst many had enjoyed the curriculum and in particular the clinical skills resource centre and the clinical exposure of the final year including the "shadowing" and A & E attachment they would have liked more "structure" alongside the PBL when learning the basic sciences.

Conclusion

According to the graduates themselves many of the aims of curriculum reform have been met by the reformed curriculum and they were well prepared clinically to work as doctors. However, further reforms may be needed to give confidence to science knowledge acquisition.