Patient-Doctor Theme Tutors


It is a key component of the Sydney Medical School Program (SMP) that students learn in clinical settings from the start. Students attend one day a week at their designated clinical school throughout Stage 1 and 2. At Northern this is either at Hornsby, Manly or the RNSH campus including North Shore Private Hospital. Over the two years the aim is to have each student experience health care delivery in both a large and a smaller hospital.

On this clinical day students are introduced to clinical practice by a Patient-Doctor tutor who facilitates development of:

  • good history taking skills (communication skills tutor)
  • good clinical examination technique for all systems (physical examination tutor)

Tutorial sessions are 1.5 hours long and conducted in small groups in a clinical setting. The usual format is a group discussion about issues related to the particular history or examination followed by a patient interaction where a student takes a history (or examines) followed by constructive feedback from the tutor. Generally in one tutorial at least 3 students would have an opportunity to interact with a patient. In most blocks within Stages 1 & 2, specialist physical examination tutors are recruited.

In Stage 3 the purpose of the weekly Patient-Doctor bedside tutorial is to hone history taking skills and to develop physical examination skills particularly in the detection of abnormal signs. Students also need to develop skills in integrating history and examination findings into a differential diagnosis and problem list. By the end of year 4 they should be able to relate their findings to the appropriate pathophysiology and be able to outline a management plan.

Patient-Doctor bedside tutors in Stage 3 are recruited in Blocks of 8 weeks so they develop a supportive relationship with a group doing a particular Core Block.