The University of Southampton

MEDI6118 Assistantship

Module Overview

The Student Assistantship is a four week clinical placement undertaken in the last six months of Final Year. It is a transitional bridge to prepare students for practicing as competent Foundation Doctors. The module will normally take the format of a 4 week placement in one or more partner trusts. The timing will vary for different student groups and the teaching staff will vary for different practices and student groups. As is the nature of clinical placements, the exact learning experiences of each student will be variable however all students will receive the same broad opportunities sufficient to achieve the learning outcomes of the module and it is expected that students will take responsibility for making the most of the opportunities provided and being pro-active in securing experiences in areas in which they feel they are weak and/or they have had least learning experiences.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: The aim of the Assistantship module is to prepare students for practice in an experiential learning environment. In Year 5, medical students must undertake one assistantship - a period spent acting as an assistant to a junior doctor, with defined duties, and under appropriate supervision. Student assistants need to be fully integrated within the clinical team. Students should participate in activities similar to those of a newly qualified doctor, i.e. be active members of the team with clinical responsibilities. Consultation and procedural skills will be developed through active participation within the interprofessional team rather than passive observation. The learning outcomes below map directly to one or more of the Programme learning which in turn are taken from Outcomes for Graduates published by the GMC.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Justify the selection of appropriate investigations for common clinical cases [1.1c]
  • Determine to what extent patients want to be involved in decisions about their care and treatment [2.1f]
  • Provide explanation, advice, reassurance and support [2.1g]
  • Interpret clinical findings, appreciating the importance of psychological, spirtual, religious, social and cultural factors [2.2a]
  • Make an initial assessment of a patient’s problems and formulate a differential diagnosis [2.2b]
  • Make an investigative plan in partnership with the patient, obtaining informed consent [2.2c]
  • Interpret the results of investigations [2.2d]
  • Define the most likely diagnosis or diagnoses having fully assessed the patient [2.2e]
  • Make clinical decisions in conjunction with a qualified doctor on the clinical evidence available [2.2f]
  • Develop safe strategies to deal with clinical uncertainty [2.2f]
  • Formulate management and discharge plans [2.2g]
  • Select the appropriate forms of management for common diseases [1.1e]
  • Safeguard welfare of vulnerable patients who may be suffering from abuse or neglect [2.2i, 2.3g]
  • Contribute to the care of patients and their families at the end of life including management of symptoms; practical issues of law and certification, and safe and effective Teamworking [2.2j]
  • Communicate compassionately by listening, sharing and responding to patients and colleagues regardless of their age, cultural or ethnic background [2.3a]
  • Communicate effectively by spoken, written and electronic methods [2.3c]
  • Communicate appropriately with support in difficult circumstances such as breaking bad news [2.3d, 2.3e, 2.3f]
  • Recognise and assess a sick patient [2.4a]
  • Diagnose and manage acute medical emergencies with senior support [2.4b]
  • Provide immediate life support [2.4d]
  • Provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation with supervision [2.4e]
  • Establish an accurate drug history [2.5a]
  • Demonstrate knowledge of therapeutics [1.1f]
  • Plan drug therapy for common indications including pain and distress [2.5b]
  • Calculate appropriate drug doses and provide a safe and legal prescription [2.5d]
  • Access reliable information about medication and provide this to the patient [2.5e, 2.5f]
  • Detect, manage and report adverse drug reactions with senior input [2.5g]
  • Demonstrate awareness of the use of complementary therapies that might impact on patient treatment [2.5h]
  • Be able to perform a range of diagnostic procedures, as listed in Appendix 1 of Tomorrow’s Doctors 2009 and measure and record the findings [2.6a]
  • Be able to perform a range of therapeutic procedures, as listed in Appendix 1 of Tomorrow’s Doctors 2009 [2.6b]
  • Be able to demonstrate correct practice in general aspects of practical procedures, as listed in Appendix 1 of Tomorrow’s Doctors 2009 [2.6c]
  • Keep accurate, legible and complete clinical records [2.7a]
  • Make effective use of computers and other information systems [2.7b]
  • Apply the basic principles of communicable disease control in a hospital setting [1.4e]
  • Understand and maintain patient confidentiality. Conform to data protection legislation and codes of practice in all dealings with information [2.7c]
  • Maintain GMC standards as stipulated in their guidance for medical students and doctors in Medical students: professional behaviour and fitness to practice 2007 and Good Medical Practice [3.1a]
  • Demonstrate awareness of the clinical responsibilities and role of the doctor [3.1b]
  • Make care of the patient your first concern [3.1b]
  • Be compassionate, polite and honest [3.1c]
  • Act with integrity [3.1c]
  • Respect all patients and colleagues regardless of their age, cultural or ethnic background [3.1d]
  • Acquire, assess, apply and integrate new knowledge [3.2a]
  • Adapt to the changing clinical environment [3.2a
  • Use a professional learning portfolio containing reflection, achievements and learning needs [3.2b]
  • Take and record a medical history [2.1a]
  • Continually and systematically reflect on personal practice [3.2c]
  • Manage time and prioritise tasks [3.2d]
  • Recognise own personal and professional limits and seek help from senior colleagues and supervisors when necessary [3.2e]
  • Understand and respect the roles of allied professionals [3.3a]
  • Understand the contribution that effective interdisciplinary teamworking makes to the delivery of safe and high-quality care [3.3b]
  • Demonstrate the ability to build positive working relationships in ways that best serve the interests of patients [3.3b, 3.3c]
  • Passing on information and handing over care effectively [3.3c]
  • Demonstrate a problem solving approach within the team [3.3c]
  • Demonstrate a problem solving approach within the team [3.3c]
  • Place patient’s needs and safety at the centre of the care process [3.4a]
  • Deal effectively with uncertainty and change [3.4b]
  • Elicit the patient’s views, concerns, values and preferences [2.1b]
  • Understand the framework in which medicine is practised in the UK [3.4c]
  • Promote, monitor and maintain health and safety in a clinical setting [3.4d]
  • Understand responsibilities for raising concerns about safety and quality such as adverse incident reporting [3.4d]
  • Apply principles of infection prevention and control [3.4h]
  • Take responsibility for your own learning and your continuing professional development [3.2b]
  • Perform a full physical examination [2.1c]
  • Perform a mental-state examination [2.1d]
  • Assess a patient’s capacity in accordance with GMC guidance and the law [2.1e]


In order to meet the learning outcomes, students are likely to undertake the following: • Taking, documenting and presenting patient histories • Doing a full physical examination • Formulating differential diagnoses and investigation plans • Instigating management and discharge plans • Performance of practical procedures under supervision • Managing acute admissions under supervision • Experience working in shifts and out of hours • Managing patient administration under supervision • Initiating drug and fluid prescribing which must be countersigned by a registered doctor • Observe, rehearse and explore complex communication skills with an attending Foundation doctor or Assistantship supervisor

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be taught through a range of learning and teaching strategies which may include: • Tutor led tutorials • Guided self-study • Personal learning logbook • eLearning • Patient based learning Students will normally study for their assistantship through 2 weeks in medicine and 2 weeks in surgery. Doctors work in shift patterns and rotas throughout much of their working lives and to prepare you for such working once you graduate, throughout your programme you will be expected to undertake placements in the evenings, at nights and at weekends. This will not be an onerous requirement and will be negotiated well in advance so that students with carers’ requirements will be able to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for cover Within this module there may be some core/compulsory activities that will take place in the evenings, nights or weekends therefore students will commitments that will be affected by these should be pro-active in securing details of these activities well in advance of the start of the module. In addition, many non core learning opportunities will be available during these times and students are encouraged to take advantage of them The Learning Logbook • The purpose of this Learning Logbook is to record your activities during your attachment. It should act as both a record of your clinical experience and a means of reflecting on your learning. • You are expected to clerk and present a minimum of 15 cases during this placement. At least 3 of these patients should be followed through the hospital journey. Where students undertake the module as 2 separate placements in Medicine and Surgery they are expected to clerk and present a minimum of 8 cases during each placement and with at least 2 of each followed through the hospital journey. • You will find space within your Learning Logbook to record your clinical experience during each of these interactions on a case-by-case basis. • You should briefly summarise the cases/clinical conditions seen within each section, and reflect on the learning points that each has afforded (for example any ethical, diagnostic, management, or communication challenge experienced). • The cases should be used to inform your further learning, and the Learning Logbook and its contents should then be discussed with your consultant at the end of your attachment as part of the assessment of your performance.

Preparation for scheduled sessions13.5
Work based learning118
Wider reading or practice34
Supervised time in studio/workshop8
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Promoting Excellence: standards for medical education and training GMC. 

Kumar PJ, Clark M (2005). Kumar and Clark Clinical Medicine. 

Foundation Year 1 ePortfolio. 

Outcomes for Graduates (Tomorrow’s Doctors) GMC. 



MethodPercentage contribution
End of Placement Evaluation 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual Activity’ 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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