Collaborative approach improves Acute Care teaching

Acute Care teaching and learning is integrated throughout the MD. This begins as Basic Life Support (BLS) in first year and culminates with assessment and management of acutely unwell patients, including Advanced Life Support (ALS), in the final year.

In preparation for 2022, the acute care content was reviewed by a working group of academic staff and clinicians. All four years were considered, with a particular emphasis on Years 3 and 4 and preparing students for internship. The relevance and effectiveness of Deteriorating Patient Simulations (DPS), third year ALS teaching, Acute Care Workshop (ACW) and fourth year assessment were evaluated.

The review has led to improvements in the content, structure and duration of acute care teaching sessions and the development of a new Year 4 assessment rubric. This is now based on the AMC domains and the AMC intern term training assessment form and guides learning, assessment preparation and marking. Students are assessed over 14 domains and awarded a pass mark or an opportunity to re-sit the assessment.

We acknowledge the working group members for leading this improvement process: Dr Michal Wozniak, Dr Julie Halbert, Dr James Thompson, Dr Cyle Sprick, Belinda Olsen and Dr Nicholas Teng.

We also extend sincere thanks to the Acute Care teaching team (Dr Cyle Sprick, Belinda Olsen and Dr Kate Starr-Marshall) and clinicians for sharing their knowledge and expertise with MD students: Dr Nicholas Teng and Dr Lionel Warren (ED Simulation Fellows) for facilitating the teaching and assessment in Year 4, Dr Felix Tan (Paediatric consultant), Dr Charmaine Gray (Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant), Dr Seb Haiart (ICU Registrar) and the team of Anaesthetic RMO’s (Dr Penelope Evans, Dr Andrew Baker, Dr Matthew Lawley, Dr James Greenhalgh, Dr Niamh Curran and Dr Keren Wu) who do a fabulous job teaching airway management and resuscitation skills with first and second year students.


A summary of Acute Care in the Flinders MD

MD Year 1

  • 3 BLS sessions – skill development and team scenarios
  • Assessment of student’s ability to complete ‘the first minute’, compressions and effective ventilation

MD Year 2

  • Introduction to airway adjuncts including the iGel and paediatric resuscitation.
  • Assessment of students’ ability to manipulate a hospital bed or portable oxygen, use an appropriate airway adjunct and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

MD Year 3

  • DPS-1: introduces the A-E assessment method (with updated online content) and involves four rotating simulations
  • DPS-2: A further four rotating simulations to review and practice the A-E assessment method and ALS
  • ALS: New online content and a shortened session focusing on the ALS specific aspects of deteriorating patient care

 MD Year 4

  • DPS: Four rotating simulations with more complex content, including Paediatric ALS, Code black, polypharmacy overdose and short calls about fluids, electrolytes and ECG interpretation
  • ACW: Rotating simulations to reinforce A-E and ALS processes learned in Yr 3 in preparation for an individual assessment on both a simulated patient (actor) and a manikin
  • Short calls: 4 rotating simulations during the ‘intensive weeks’ in June. These focus on patient assessment and management and complement ‘cover shifts’ shadowing in preparation for internship.
  • Students demonstrate competence in the management of acutely unwell patients prior to graduation. The assessment rubric covers: Knowledge, Patient Safety, Communication, Patient Assessment, Investigations, Procedures, Patient Management, Prescribing, Emergency Care, Information Management, Professionalism, Clinical Responsibility, Teamwork, Time Management

Dr Cyle Sprick
Senior Lecturer, Simulated Learning Environment

Posted in
MD Teaching