Health Education

"To study the phenomenon of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all" Wiliam Osler


"Do not spend the day listening to that which you may read by night." William Osler



Professional training encompasses the transition from lay person to health care professional. The image at left is a roadmap for medical school, and similar representations could easily be created for programs such as nursing, pharmacy, and nutrition.


From this point, we can ask:


What our shared and unique scopes and roles in practice, and how could interprofessional curricula reflect this?





Curriculum considerations

  • pre-professional
  • pre-clinical
  • clinical



"The first task of any school should be to protect its privilege of offering free time - the Latin word schola means free time - to understand ourselves and our world a little better." Henri Nowen, Reaching Out.



Clinical reasoning doesn't translate well among disease states, but basic science concepts do. They, then, need to be a foundational framework - to move from biology to disease, diagnosis, and treatment.


How much should first trimester medical students know at the end of their training?

A good amount about everything, though not too much about any one thing.

We can really struggle knowing what is need to know and what is nice to know.


What do we need to have directly available at our mental fingertips? Much of this stuff can be referenced. If it can be, understand it, know where to find it, but don't memorize it!



The limiting step is often preceptors. What about having 3rd-4th year students pair up, perhaps one from nursing, one from medicine, and have them teach first year students at least some of the time?


It is a good idea to practice on classmates. That way, there is little pressure - we can stumble through together!


I also really like the idea of training classmates to be simulated patients. It is a very good idea to know what it is like from the perspective of the patient. And, it saves a boatload of money!


We should pair up, maybe a few upper year med and nursing students, and come up with a scenario. The, develop a module to train and equip SPs from student body. Get some first year students to do the interviewing, and off you go!


Come up with modules to train people in basics of clinical skills.



What is it that happens when students start working in wards, clinics, and offices?



Being a doctor is at least a few things:

  • extensive knowledge about the proper development and functioning of the human mind and body
  • clinical skills: ability to examine the mind and body
  • diagnostic expertise: knowledge of conditions and diseases
  • therapeutic mastery: knowledge and skills to treat

Experience acquisition and skill refinement is associated both with simulations and real-life practice.

Teaching, training, and mentorship is a key bottle neck to health education. The information is present, as is the need; what's limiting is the number and availability of health care professionals and senior learners to assist in learning.

Assessment and evaluation is the endpoint of many programmes, and is unfortunately often the pre-occupation of students.




Frank E. 2008. Health Sciences Online: Eight+ Revolutions and Ten+ Brief Analyses. The Open Medical Education Journal 1:1-4.


Have listing of free journals that pages can link to...




Random Thoughts to be sorted through

Medical Illustration: Continuity is important - keep similarity of images throughout medical training. Color coding allows for this.

UBC Northern Medical School insights