University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Clinical Skills in Medicine

LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION The educational objectives of this study unit are different from the preceding study units offered by the Department of Medicine. The programme ensures that the teaching programme in basic clinical medicine from a systems perspective has been completed and assessed. This is necessary because the main scope of the programme is one of synthesis and needs to take into account several body systems concurrently into a complex whole.

Teaching methods:

• Classroom-based integrated teaching sessions aimed at reinforcing basic principles of clinical medicine and at introducing advanced medicine with a multisystem case-based approach. The programme of lecture/seminars is designed to complement hands-on and ongoing clinical experience involving both in patients and out patients.

• Tutorials: aimed at refining clinical, communication and examination skills invariably involving real patients.

• Clinical attachments with specific consultant physicians.

• Log-book. The Department of Medicine has a logbook that spans the last three years of the course of studies. It is designed to be a reflective record for the experiences gained in the three years of clinical study.

Study-unit Aims:

The overall scope of this programme is to consolidate knowledge and to move from an integrated systems-based approach to a multidisciplinary case-based approach.

The overreaching aim of the programme is to prepare students to achieve a level of safety and competence to be able to qualify and practice as doctors at Foundation Year 1 level.

Most of the topics would have been addressed in specific systems, and differently, over the preceding semesters and the unit aims to consolidate knowledge spirally.

Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Apply scientifically reliable principles, method and knowledge to the practice of medicine;
• Access information sources, carry out an appropriate literature search and critically appraise published medical literature;
• Use information technology including hospital-based electronic sources such as iSoft, PACS and census databases.

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Carry out a consultation with a patient: taking a history, carrying out physical examination, and assessing a patient’s mental state;
• Make evidence-based clinical judgments and decisions;
• Communicate effectively with empathy, by providing explanation and advice, reassurance and support;
• Assess clinical presentations, order and interpret investigations and make differential diagnoses;
• Make and negotiate a management plan;
• Prescribe drugs accurately while being cognizant of the benefits and risks;
• Carry out basic practical procedures including administration of oxygen, intravenous therapy and blood transfusion;
• Assess the psychological and social aspects of a patient's illness.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

1. Clinical Medicine. Parveen Kumar P & Michael Clark. Saunders. 8th Edition, 2012
2. Macleod's Clinical Examination. Graham Douglas, Fiona Nicol, Colin Robertson. Churchill Livingstone.12th Edition, 2009
3. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. Murray Longmore, Ian Wilkinson, Edward Davidson, Alexander Foulkes, Oxford University Press. 8th Edition, 2010
4. 250 Short Cases in Clinical Medicine. Ragavendra Baliga. Saunders. 4th Edition, 2012

Online resources:

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Placement & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Clinical Assessment Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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