Background Medical students should understand the value of research and be able to ‘formulate simple relevant research questions’. … and design appropriate studies or experiments to address the questions (Outcomes for Graduates – Section 12b). However, it is often difficult for students to engage meaningfully with academic departments and clinical research. As a result, graduating Doctors are often under-prepared for postgraduate research and few engage in further academic training.
Aims The University of Liverpool Scholar Programme aims to accelerate the development of research skills by embedding medical students within an active clinical research department at early stage in their education.
Methods Selected students are offered the opportunity to apply to the Scholar Programme. An action plan is developed, and the academic partnership provides the opportunity for the Scholar to be mentored and supported in the development and completion of a student led research study.
Results The Scholar Programme began in 2014. Currently there are 57 Scholar students, producing several peer reviewed academic outputs. There are currently 6 Palliative Medicine Scholars, engaging in a range of projects from, a feasibility study on the use of the dignity question, to contributing to the development of a Core Outcome Set. Summary feedback indicates that, in addition to an enhanced understanding and working knowledge of research, the scholar programme provides substantial benefits to the personal and professional development of the student.
Conclusions The Scholar Programme is an effective way to provide academically focused medial undergraduates with the opportunity to understand the critical relevance and application of research evidence whilst developing transferable research and critical thinking skills. Although a new programme, providing students with this experience in Palliative Medicine may assist in developing future academic clinicians in the field.
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