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Optimising undergraduate medico-legal and professionalism teaching through a student-selected component
  1. Tej Pandya1,
  2. Ferhan Muneeb2,
  3. Jonathan Gibb3,
  4. Neil H Metcalfe3
  1. 1 Academic Foundation Doctor, Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton, UK
  2. 2 Worthing Hospital, Worthing, UK
  3. 3 Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tej Pandya, Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton BL4 0JR, UK; tej1pandya{at}


Purpose We sought to understand how best to teach medico-ethics, law and professionalism to undergraduate medical students using a student selected component.

Materials and methods Students received small-group, seminar-based teaching from the module organiser and external representatives from organisations such as the General Medical Council and Medical Protection Society. Experiential learning was also facilitated through attendance at fitness to practice tribunals and Coroner’s court, followed by structured debrief sessions. Two cohorts of medical students(n=40) from Manchester University were surveyed before and after undergoing the placement, with qualitative interviews and thematic analysis for a subset of this group(n=16) and course leaders(n=4).

Results There were significant (p<0.05) improvements in students’ self-reported understanding of key medicolegal organisations and accessing guidance on professionalism. Thematic analysis uncovered increasing confidence in the role of the medicolegal system, barriers to challenging unprofessional behaviour, and a desire for this to be placed in the curricula.

Conclusions This placement was well received and demonstrates an importance for this content to be taught effectively in the medical curricula. Having protected time to attend sessions while an undergraduate may reduce anxiety felt by doctors fearing medicolegal proceedings and help challenge unprofessional behaviours. Further work could explore mechanisms into how best to incorporate this into the medical curricula.

  • medical student
  • curriculum
  • general medical council

Data availability statement

Data is available on reasonable request.

Statistics from

Data availability statement

Data is available on reasonable request.

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  • TP and FM are joint first authors.

  • Twitter @pandyatej

  • Contributors NHM was the course leader of this project. NHM and JG planned the study and JG collated the first data set. TP and FM collated the second round the data and wrote the main body of the manuscript. All authors helped edit the manuscript and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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