School of Medical Education

Anatomy & Clinical Skills

Overview

Early in the curriculum, students experience clinical skills within the context of visits to hospitals and GP surgeries. Much of their clinical skills teaching and learning takes place in our outstanding anatomy and clinical skills facility.

Our training ensures students adopt the correct approach and techniques as early as possible in order to gradually develop the desired proficiency in practice.

Our students enjoy the time they spend in clinical skills and it fuels their enthusiasm for the clinical world.

Expert teaching

Students are taught by staff who are experts in their fields and are actively involved in cutting edge regional innovation work.

Our engagement with local and national anatomy experts is strong and this enriches the learning experience.

It gives students access to clinical staff in specialist fields such as radiology, surgery, NSTC, and emergency medicine.

Our staff to student ratio is good and students are fully supported by our team of lecturers, instructors, demonstrators and technicians.

Learning methods

The learning methods we use are varied. As well as attending lectures, students are expected to practise in small groups and interact with their peers to promote self-directed learning.

Audio-visual aid, simulation, models, equipment, worksheets and scenarios are all used to promote effective learning.

Formative assessments and mock OSCE scenarios are also carried out, which allows the students to get their logbooks and competences signed off.

Clinical skills volunteers

A recent development is that we are currently looking for volunteers to be part of our Early Years clinical skills training.

Practising on each other is an invaluable experience. However, practising on non-medical volunteers proves to be a greater and more challenging learning experience.

Expertise

Students are taught by staff who are experts in their fields and are actively involved in cutting edge regional innovation work.

  • Dr Debra Patten

    Director of Anatomy and Clinical Skills

    As Director of Anatomy and Clinical Skills, Debra has lead responsibility for developing the teaching strategy for anatomy and clinical skills, ensuring that the teaching methods used are innovative and produce successful outcomes for our students. Debra delivers anatomy teaching in MB BS, MRes and Biomedical Science programmes. She is the HTA Designated Individual and supervises the regulated activities of anatomical examination at Newcastle University and its three satellite sites in the North East. These are Durham University Queen’s Campus at Stockton, James Cook University Hospital Middlesbrough and the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

  • Dr Joanna Matthan

    Senior Demonstrator

    Originally from Finland, Joanna qualified as a doctor from the University of Newcastle in 2010 and has completed her Foundation Training in Newcastle's busy central hospitals. Primarily her role involves lecturing in head and neck anatomy, demonstrating anatomy and teaching clinical skills to undergraduate level medical students. She has a strong interest in head and neck, as well as abdominal and pelvic anatomy, and the etymological origins of anatomical terms.

  • Dr Iain Keenan

    Teaching Fellow

    Iain lectures and teaches practicals in anatomy for Early Years students on the MBBS programme. He is a graduate of the University of York where he gained his BSc (Hons) Biology and his PhD. Iain has broad knowledge and experience in anatomical and biological sciences. He has undertaken research concerning the molecular regulation of development and cancer between beginning his doctorate in 2000 and leaving the field in August 2012 to take up his current teaching fellow position here.

  • Emma McAllister

    Teaching Fellow

    Emma is the Teaching Fellow for clinical skills in Early Years of the MB BS programme. Emma teaches a broad range of skills that include physical examinations and practical procedures. She has a supportive role with Dr Elsa Randles in patient and public involvement.

  • Brian Thompson

    Senior Technician

    Brian knows the anatomy and clinical skills facility inside and out. He manages the technical support and makes sure all equipment is in the right place at the right time. He is also responsible for the prosection of human cadavers and helps to manage the body bequeathal programme.

  • Lynsey French

    Technician

    Lynsey provides technical support to the anatomy and clinical skills team. This involves setting out equipment and anatomical models for use in demonstrations of clinical techniques and anatomy classes for various professionals and medical students.

  • Jessica Wragg

    Technician

    Jessica also provides technical support to the anatomy and clinical skills team. This involves setting out equipment and anatomical models for use in demonstrations of clinical techniques and anatomy classes for various professionals and medical students.

Volunteering Opportunities

We want the doctors of tomorrow to have a great bedside manner. We need volunteers to help our medical students learn clinical examination skills so they get the relevant medical information.

We're looking for volunteers who are:

  • polite and respectful
  • considerate of your comfort and needs
  • clear about explaining what they are doing and what they want you to do

About clinical skills teaching

Clinical skills teaching is how junior medical students (Years 1 and 2) learn to conduct a physical examination and to recognise ‘normal’.

Students learn in small groups of four or five, within a larger group of about 60 students, in the clinical skills lab at the Medical School.

They learn different types of examination in different sessions, for example:

  • chest examination
  • blood pressure
  • pulse measurement

No ‘intimate’ examinations are taught.

How you can help

Students learn clinical skills by watching demonstrations and practising on mannequins and on each other.

This doesn’t really teach them to be considerate of the person they are examining, in terms of ensuring their comfort, and being polite and respectful.

They also need to learn to explain clearly what is going on and to explain what they need the person being examined to do in order to help them.

These are all things that are best learned by examining non-medically trained people, which is where our volunteers come in.

What you'll get out of it

The sessions are lively and fun, giving you the satisfaction of helping to train future doctors.

Research has shown that volunteers can feel empowered by the experience and can gain in confidence and self-esteem. The sessions may also provide a point of interest on a CV.

The sessions are not paid, but travel expenses will be reimbursed or a taxi to and from the session provided.

Tea and coffee will be available during the pre-session briefing and you will receive a thank you letter for each session attended.

Further information

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, please email us.

Also see our Volunteering Information Pack (PDF: 136KB) and our Volunteering Consent Form (PDF: 92KB).