Preparation for making clinical referrals

Shaun P Qureshi, Katharine Rankin, Neill Storrar, Michael Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The application of prior learning within medical curricula to real patient care is challenging. Clinical assistantships support UK medical students making the transition to postgraduate practice as doctors. This paper describes a method of teaching clinical referrals: the process of clinicians contacting colleagues for advice or services. The skills required are key to medical practice, and students should be supported to develop them in order to optimally benefit from their assistantships and prepare for practice.

METHODS: The referrals workshop consisted of five diverse clinical cases that students explored in groups. Each station presented a realistic scenario. Students assimilated written information and made a telephone call to a faculty member in another room with a clinical request. After each 90-minute session students received both personalised and group feedback.

EVALUATION: The workshop was delivered to 108 students over 2 days, and received positive feedback from students and faculty members. Students and faculty members particularly valued the realism of making authentic calls to unseen clinicians, the fidelity of simulated referrals and constructive feedback. They considered this excellent preparation for making referrals in the workplace. Challenges included the moderately large number of faculty members required for each workshop (seven staff) and technical issues with telephone reception. The referrals workshop consisted of five diverse clinical cases that students explored in groups DISCUSSION: These practical, scalable, replicable and well-received learning activities have addressed a key educational need by providing guidance on the integration of prior learning with the performance of core clinical tasks. It has provided valuable preparation for postgraduate practice. Our detailed description should allow others to adapt and evaluate this in their own settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Teacher
Early online date23 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2018


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