Helping Medical Students

This surgery is a teaching centre and medical students come here as part of their training to be doctors.

When you contact the surgery for an appointment, you may be asked whether you would be willing to be seen or spoken to by medical students. We would be grateful if you would help with this. By doing so, you are contributing to the training of the next generation of doctors.

Code of practice for medical students

A medical student should always:

  • Tell you his/her name.
  • Inform you that s/he is a medical student.
  • Ask your permission before taking medical details or making a physical examination (over video/in person).
  • Keep information you have given in complete confidence between you and the supervising doctor.
  • Ask your permission to do common procedures, such as taking blood samples.

Talking to you about your medical details: your medical history

The most important thing a doctor does to find out what is wrong with a patient is to listen to the patient describing their illness and exploring their story in greater depth. It is one of the most important things for medical students to learn. This can be done through speaking with patients on the telephone or via video call, or meeting patients at home or in the surgery if it safe to do this.

Firstly, the student needs to listen to your account of events and then explore with you what each of your symptoms means in more detail.

We expect our students:

  • To listen to your story without interrupting.
  • To ask questions sensitively and clearly without using technical medical language.
  • To respond sensitively to your feelings.

Being examined by a medical student

Medical students need to learn how to carry out medical examinations so that they become skilled at recognising signs of possible underlying medical problems and also recognise what is normal. The student will explain exactly what is involved when they ask for your consent to examine you.

They need to learn:

  • What the normal body is like and how it changes with age.
  • How to identify signs which may indicate possible underlying medical problems.
  • Techniques for examining to understand the underlying problem in more detail.
  • If you are unhappy about taking part for any reason, please let us know.

Discussing your diagnosis and treatment

Students in the later stages of their training will often be asked by the GP tutor to make a diagnosis and discuss potential treatments. We may ask the student to discuss his or her plans directly with you. This allows them to practise making make medical decisions, to communicate clearly and to talk about the treatment required.

Please be assured that advice and treatment will only be given by the GP or other qualified practitioner and that any decisions are between you and the qualified GP/practitioner. Students are not allowed to sign prescriptions or offer any form of treatment or therapy.

Giving feedback

We often ask patients to give comments to the students on their performance. This lets students see how well they have communicated with you and dealt with your problem.

Thank you

We would like to warmly thank all of those patients who have taken part in medical student training.

Students very highly value these patient experiences during their time at the surgery.

How to get involved

Your doctor may contact you directly to ask if you would be happy to help the students in their training. You can also volunteer by letting your doctor or the practice receptionists know that you are willing to help. The GP will then contact you if/when a suitable opportunity arises. They will explain what the teaching involves and when you are needed. You can withdraw your consent at any time and for any reason.

If you have any questions or concerns now, or at any time during the teaching, please let us know straight away.

We fully understand that there may be times when you would prefer not to meet medical students. Please let the practice know straight away. It will not affect your treatment in any way.