The MSc in Pre-Hospital Medicine
This innovative degree programme is a part time MSc for doctors and paramedics who wish to gain an advanced knowledge in pre-hospital medicine and who want to make a difference within their healthcare professions. The programme is currently in its inaugural year and is run in partnership with Queen Mary University of London and is delivered at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, one of the leading medical schools in the UK.
The MSc aims to prepare established clinicians for the challenges of the advanced practice of pre-hospital medicine. Alongside interpretation and application of scientific data students demonstrate knowledge in the full range of specific subject areas, such as toxicology, anatomy, resuscitation and law and ethics. They solve clinically related dilemmas using a detailed understanding of core science and analyse how this is relevant to the interpretation of clinical diagnosis.
The programme is designed to enable students to embrace subject matter relevant to the holistic management of patients and modules cover a wide range of topics including human factors. simulation and performance. These topics are joined with modules exploring cutting-edge science and applied to patients who present in the pre-hospital phase of care thereby resulting in a holistic, realistic, practice-based Masters degree.
The programme runs over three years comprising a variety of taught modules in the first two years and a dissertation in the final year. For the dissertation year students will not be in attendance but supporting tutorials and virtual classrooms are arranged for the group, and individually.
The programme is delivered on an attendance basis (not distance learning), and all the teaching will take place in London, located at both Barts and The London School of Medicine and The Institute of Pre-Hospital Care at London’s Air Ambulance.
We will be running ‘teaching pods’ for each of the modules, which are 3 - 5 days in duration. The direction of individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions attended - along with the overview offered by the reading lists and also the assignments and tutorials. Students are expected to demonstrate an active role in their own learning - by reading widely, reflecting on and developing, and expanding, their knowledge, understanding and critical abilities - in relation to the subject area.
Students have full access to the college/medical school library and student computing facilities.The course will utilise the virtual learning environment provided by Queen Mary University London (QMPlus). This enables lecture notes and handout material to be available electronically, with potential for discussion and question boards.
Modules and Course Content
Year 1 - 4 modules at 15 credits each
The interpretation of mechanisms of injury, the analysis of symptoms and signs, as well as the delivery of key diagnostic tests during the very early stages of care all rely on a clinician's application of their anatomical knowledge. Further, the understanding of pathology of the diseases that present in the pre-hospital phase is dependent on a sound knowledge of human anatomy, this module, therefore, focusses on furnishing the appropriate anatomical knowledge base for clinical practice in this element of patient care.
Students are supplied with a bespoke anatomy workbook prior to commencing the module, and this has been specially prepared by our module lead, Dr Rob Greenhalgh, and lead for anatomy, Dr Paula Vickerton.
2. Applied Toxicology for Pre-Hospital Medicine
This module has two broad headings, recreational drug pharmaco-toxicology and chemical/biological agent toxicology. Students will study the clinical syndromes and the underpinning basic science principles of drug actions as well as the basis of the management for patients in this phase of care. The module will also cover the pharmacology and clinical syndromes associated with 'deliberate-release' chemical and biological warfare agents - including traditional and more modern agents – toward the development of a pragmatic approach to the identification and management of these.
Novel recreational drugs such as ‘spice’, ‘mephedrone’, and ‘GHB’ are frequently involved in clinical presentations to ambulance services and emergency departments, with some emergency departments seeing hundreds of cases every year. Obtaining a detailed knowledge and understanding of these agents is key to managing patients well, and is now a core element of the work of any paramedic or prehospital doctor.
Chemical and Biological agents that can (and have) been used in terrorist and other events in the UK and throughout the world are important components of our curriculum. The poisoning in Salisbury (apparently with Novichok) in 2018, is an important case. Our masters team study this, and other related events, together with the mechanisms of action of these agents during the programme.
3. Applied Resuscitation Science for Pre-Hospital Medicine
This module offers the opportunity for students to develop and deepen their knowledge and skills in the discipline of resuscitation science. The module covers some of the latest developments in the field, such as prehospital extra-corporeal life support and cardiac arrest and peri-cardiac arrest science. Alongside this, students will review the latest organisational responses to patient need - for example, cardiac arrest centres and advanced pre-hospital resuscitation teams. The module aims not only prepares students for their practice-based work, embracing current and future innovation, it also allows them to gain broader understanding of the critical decision making in developing and applying new practice to the service. The start of the module is heralded by the resuscitation science symposium.
4. Law and Ethics for Pre-Hospital Medicine
Legal and ethical considerations in medicine are relevant for all clinicians but offer particular challenge for those who practice in the pre-hospital field. All patient care and management must embrace key underpinning legal and ethical principles, but within the specific contexts that apply in the pre-hospital phase i.e. medicine undertaken in public and generally unprotected environments, this is of particular complexity. This module will cover a spectrum of pertinent legal and ethical concerns such as end of life decisions the mental health act as applied to prehospital medicine, inquests and inquiries, and also includes new and emerging areas such as the application of ethical principles related to the filming of patients, or the use social media for educational purposes.
During the teaching pod, students attend real and mock inquests and undertake scenario work focussed on ethics and law.
Year 2 - 2 modules at 30 credits each
1. Simulation and Moulage for Pre-Hospital Medicine
Simulation and moulage are a key component of education for pre-hospital clinicians. The module focuses on creating and developing scenarios for moulage and simulation praxis. Students will have an opportunity to further their understanding of moulage and simulation in terms of history, purpose, methods/processes, educational theory, teaching, learning, assessment and feedback. There will be opportunities for creating simulated learning experiences, and developing these in the student’s work environment.
2. Human Factors for Pre-Hospital Medicine
An understanding of human factors, error mitigation and performance is essential to both ensuring patient safety and excellent outcomes in pre-hospital medicine. The term 'crew resource management' is used as a synonym for 'human factors' in the aviation, nuclear, maritime and other organisations where optimal performance is seen as essential. In prehospital and emergency care, the performance of teams, especially those that are rapidly formed, is commonplace. Working with experts from elite sport, aviation and other related industries, the module will embrace best practice in team performance. In parallel with the performance of individual teams, it is recognised that high performance in clinical teams is supported by quality performance systems, good governance, ergonomics and team structures, all crucial to delivering optimal care to patients.
Year 3 - Dissertation
Students are expected to create a 10000-word dissertation, and a range of interesting and relevant topics are available to them. Students may also suggest their own dissertation title.
For more information on the MSc in Pre-Hospital Medicine, please visit the Queen Mary University of London website or email Bryony Dunne, Head of Institute Delivery at firstname.lastname@example.org.