A Core Curriculum for Sociology in UK Undergraduate Medical Education
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The valuable contribution of sociology to medicine has long been recognised in the UK and since 2009 the profession’s regulator, the General Medical Council (GMC), has reflected this in the learning outcomes required of all UK graduates in medicine. This recognition has created the need for support to those involved in student learning through programme design, development and delivery. This core curriculum for sociology in medical education provides a robust, evidence and practice-based means of linking sociological knowledge, content and topics to the GMC’s higher-level outcomes. The development of the core curriculum was an inclusive and collaborative process involving individuals responsible for teaching sociology in UK medical schools and a wide range of stakeholders including patient representatives, clinicians, students and medical educationalists. Our methodology was participative and orientated towards establishing consensus without sacrificing attention to diversity of views and experience. It coupled consultation with reviews of materials and research relevant to the teaching of sociology in medicine. The core curriculum comprises 6 topics. The first, entitled the sociological perspective, underpins those that follow. Taken together these topics represent a comprehensive, coherent and detailed guide to a curriculum fit for the purpose of enabling students to meet the GMC outcomes for graduates in medicine. For each topic, the document provides a guide to core learning outcomes and indicative content. The core curriculum recognises the diversity of approaches to pedagogy in medical education and also the contexts and structures within which teaching and learning take place. The curriculum identifies a range of learning and teaching opportunities such as patient involvement and the integration of sociological content into the clinical aspects of medical education. It also highlights challenges such as preserving modes and methods of assessment relevant to the demonstration of disciplinary knowledge required of students. The content of the curriculum is mapped to Tomorrow’s Doctors 2009/2015 and enables students to meet the outcomes relating to ‘scholar and scientist’ as laid down by the GMC.
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