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students-medicalAugust 26 2105

A consultation about the professional standards expected of medical students is underway.

The General Medical Council and Medical Schools Council have launched the consultation asking for views on two draft guidelines:

  • ‘Medical students: professional values’ which “sets out the standard of professional behaviour we expect from medical students”
  • ‘Medical students: professionalism and fitness to practise’ which “provides a framework for medical schools on how to support and manage students whose professionalism and fitness to practise is a cause for concern.”

The two documents will replace the current medical student guidelines on professional values and fitness to practise issued in 2009.

‘Medical students: professional values’ is “intended to help medical students understand the professional values they need to meet while they are at university.” Based on the GMC’s ‘Good medical practice (2013)’, it “aims to support students’ transition to practice and gives them guidance on the professional behaviour they need to exhibit throughout their medical education and training.”

Meanwhile, ‘Medical students: professionalism and fitness to practise’ “is aimed at medical schools and universities to help them deal with concerns about students’ professional conduct and health.” Currently, medical schools will typically deal with 300-400 concerns every year. Issues can include student dishonesty, non-attendance or drug convictions.

In its announcement about the consultation, the GMC refers to a survey of over 2,5000 medical students it published earlier in 2015. While it found that medical students have a good awareness of the desired professional standards, there were some areas of concern, such as:

  • 12%of students think it’s acceptable to get a friend to sign them in to a lecture after oversleeping
  • 16% think it’s mostly acceptable for a student to travel on a train without buying a ticket
  • 18% think it’s mostly acceptable to go back to a patients house for coffee.

Professor Terence Stephenson, CMC Chair, said: “University is an exciting time and medical students want to enjoy themselves as much as any other student. However, medical students are not like other students. They are preparing for a career where people will be trusting them with their lives. With this guidance we are helping them to handle this responsibility from the outset.”

The consultation has 31 questions and runs until November 11. The GMC hopes to publish the finalised guidance next spring, with medical schools implementing the guidelines from September 2016.

Links:

GMC/MSC announcement         

GMC consultation           

GMC ‘Student professionalism: our survey of medical students’               

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