The curriculum is broken into three separate parts. There's Doctor and Patient, which is learning about clinical skills like basic life support, taking vital signs, percussing, etc. This part of the course happens about once a week (but I think it should be more often) and is not super well run. There appears to be a lack of tutors available so the time that we get to spend in this part of the course doesn't leave much time to consolidate information, let alone practice with the tutors individually (to make sure we're doing it properly). Hopefully the skills we learn in this will be taught again at some future date when we'll actually need it (for example, when we learned percussing, the tutor talked and demonstrated for 40 mins, let us try it on ourselves/partners for 5 mins and then dismissed us - not exactly useful).
Next, there's Doctor, the Profession and Society. This is the worst part of the course. DPS is the part of the course that should be teaching us about medical ethics, legal issues, cultural awareness and social statistics (epidemiology) etc. But, instead of actually learning about these topics, the lack of planning/coordination on the part of the organizers of this section of the course has resulted in a mishmash of useless assignments/presentations that feel more like things you'd give high school students as busy work instead of post-grad medicine level teaching. I don't really understand the point of this section of the course, and it's too bad, because I actually think this stuff is relatively important. Anyways, it seems like our year has been an exception in this because the coordinator for the course is still getting her shit together. Hopefully it will change for next year.
Finally, we have Knowledge of Health and Illness. This is the science part of the curriculum and the part that we spend most of our time on. We have 2, 3 hour PBL sessions on this every week along with 1, 3 hour clinical communication session (which also turned out to be quite painful, will explain in a bit). The PBL sessions are, of course, reinforced with lectures which are really quite good. The lecturers definitely have their shit together and they know why we're there. They seem to genuinely care about our learning and any time I've approached them with questions, I've been given thorough and very helpful replies. Furthermore, because the course has been planned and organized from day 1 (in this section, at least), the lectures all compliment the PBL cases quite well. It's a smart system and it really does flow well for teaching people about relatively difficult concepts. Now, the part that isn't so hot - communication skills. Now, I understand that this is probably a good idea for a few people that have serious problems communicating, but really, what are they doing here in the first place then? 3 hours a week on this is just way too much. It feels like a huge waste of time having to sit there and have someone patronizingly tell you that you should be silent for a minimum of 5 seconds before answering to a patients reply to the standard 'what brought you in here today?'. Maybe they could have alternated these 3 hour sessions with clinical skills so we could have actually consolidated some of that actually useful/practical information. Anyways, I know I've bitched a lot, so don't get me wrong, I think Flinders is great and the learning is at a high level. I just feel that there are definitely parts of the curriculum that need to be tweaked to flow properly.
It's good. The people here are super nice, friendly and helpful. Generally, everyone gets along and there aren't really any trouble makers. I guess that's probably due to the weeding out process in getting to medicine in the first place anyways. So, in terms of medicine, Flinders is great socially. Otherwise, well, it's hard to tell. See, that's one issue with medicine at Flinders - we become wholly and utterly socially isolated. You see the same people day in and day out and meeting people outside of the program is proving to be incredibly difficult. Maybe I just need to join some sports teams or local clubs.
Anyways, I think that's the overview for now. I'll post more later about life here in general.
In the meantime, hope all is well and wish me luck on exams - end of June! Yikes!