Hospital Dr News

New guidance to help medical students become good doctors

Understanding the importance of patient confidentiality and behaving appropriately on social media are among the professional values explained in new guidance for UK medical students.

The GMC and the Medical Schools Council (MSC) have published guidance to help medical students appreciate what is required of them to be good doctors by the time they graduate from university.

The new guidance – based on the GMC’s core ethics for doctors, Good medical practice – comes with practical tips to help medical students apply the professional values to their studies, placements and time outside of medical school.

Medical students are asked to:

  • recognise the limits of their competence and ask for help if they need it
  • be honest when they don’t know something
  • raise concerns about the safety, dignity and comfort of patients
  • protect patient identifiable information
  • seek help from their medical school if they have a health condition which may affect their studies
  • use social media to express their views but not behave in a derogatory manner to other users.

The GMC and MSC want the guidance to be a companion for medical students as they study to become the doctors of the future. An e-book version of the guidance will follow in 2017.

An additional piece of guidance published by the GMC and MSC will help medical school and university staff to manage and support students whose professional behaviour or health becomes a cause for concern.

Both sets of guidance will come into force on 1 September 2016 to tie in with the new academic year.

Professor Terence Stephenson, Chairman of the General Medical Council, said: “University is an exciting time and we want medical students to enjoy themselves as they train to be doctors.

“However medical students differ from most other students. Their studies and placements will bring them into contact with patients and members of the public who may be physically and emotionally vulnerable. Because of this and to maintain the public’s high level of trust in doctors, they have to display higher standards of professional behaviour – both inside and outside of medical school.

“Of course medical students cannot become good doctors on their own. Their medical schools play a fundamental role in giving them the opportunities to learn, understand and practise the standards expected of them. Our new guidance will help them give the guidance, pastoral care and extra support which some of their students may need.”

Read the new guide.

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