“In the beginning, it’s like an anchor” – Staff and students’ experiences of a newly implemented first-year student support programme

Emma Box, Mandy Moffat

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Abstract

Life as a first-year medical student is undoubtedly a huge challenge as the transition from student to doctor begins. For many students, it was found that feelings of anonymity and lack of regular and consistent support from staff compounds the struggles they face during this time. At the University of Dundee, it was proposed that this could be lessened with the introduction of a new personal tutor system for the first-year medical students. This study aims to assess the value of this pilot scheme by exploring the experiences and perceptions of the students and staff involved. Using a qualitative design, data was collected using interviews with staff and students. Thematic analysis of the transcripts provided key themes driving the discussion and conclusion. Overall staff and students were positive about the design of the system itself, as well as their experiences of specific tutor-student interactions. It was clear there was some uncertainty in the expectations of providing pastoral support versus academic support. Many staff raised questions regarding how the system could move forward in future years, and students felt that it should not necessarily be limited to first-years. It is hoped that this research will inform future progress of this support system as well as contribute to the growing literature relating to evaluation of student support programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMedEdPublish
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2019

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