The School of Medicine at The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) has adopted a clinical apprenticeship model for the final two years of its MBBS course. In the context of real clinical settings, students observe experienced clinicians as they consult with real patients. Students are provided with opportunities to practice clinical skills under the watchful eye of these clinicians who provide constructive feedback and gradually relax their level of intervention as the students become more proficient.

For the first time since the course commenced, UNDA medical students began their clinical apprenticeships in 2007 and participated in six three week rotations at a variety of hospital sites. Whilst literature on clinical apprenticeship suggests that this approach has the potential to provide rich learning opportunities, data gathered over the semester intimates that there were deficits in the learning environment. Students largely found the experience to be a positive one but problems with implementation of the clinical apprenticeship model across most sites resulted in ineffective learning.

This paper presents the findings from this evaluation program and describes the features of an implementation framework that will be used to facilitate the management of the clinical apprenticeship model in subsequent years. It is hoped that this framework will augment the clinical apprenticeship model and enable its affordances to be realised through the active participation of both the clinicians and the students.


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