Dr Jamie Coleman is a Senior Lecturer on the MBChB Medicine and Surgery programme within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.
Tell us a little about your background?
I was born and brought up in the West Midlands. I followed my father, who was an alumnus of the University of Birmingham, to study medicine from 1994-1999. Having worked in many of the teaching hospitals in the Birmingham Area, I developed an early interest in medical education and started as a personal tutor at the medical school in 2003.
During my registrar training I was an honorary lecturer in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences and became heavily involved in educational development across various years of the MBChB course. From 2003-2008 I completed both an MD and MA Medical Education simultaneously. I took up an honorary consultant post in late 2008 and then worked for 18 months as a locum consultant at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust before obtaining a competitive HEFCE-funded Senior Lecturership.
I am now third year lead for the MBChB programme and am deputy programme lead.
What do you teach?
Whilst I teach the third year groups about all aspects of medicine, such as communicating with patients, how to examine patients, and interpreting tests, my specialist interest is clinical pharmacology. This is the study of drug action in humans and how we prescribe medicines to patients. We have a strong curriculum in medicines and prescribing at Birmingham Medical School – a key skill for all qualifying doctors.
Why do you enjoy teaching?
There is a certain thrill from standing in front of 400 students and giving a lecture, trying to be inspirational, informative and (just occasionally) humorous is a great challenge as well as a great privilege. However, I also enjoy taking small groups of students (up to six) to the bedside of my patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, to tell them the patient’s history and demonstrate physical signs and describe the management of that patient. This provides a great opportunity to discuss and describe medicine in a very practical and personal way.
What is your favourite thing about teaching?
Many of our students end up practising in Birmingham and it is always a great pleasure to meet students after they have qualified on the wards and in the corridors of local hospitals. Most of them still remember me from medical school and most will greet me and recall specific things about how their education has helped them in practice.
What has been your funniest comedy teaching moment?
When teaching a group of students about inserting bladder catheters in men, I was teaching the point that it is important to give the local anaesthetic gel several minutes to act on the ‘delicate’ areas of the male anatomy before inserting the catheter. One of the female students mentioned that she had done the procedure before, but innocently told the group that she found it difficult to make conversation with men for five minutes whilst holding that part of anatomy in her hand. The whole group were crying with laughter, and the student still didn’t realised why this sounded so funny!
What methods do you use to inspire students?
One of the important things is that clinical teachers need to be able to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’, and I hope to inspire with real life examples of clinical problems.
What makes a good lecture?
A good lecture needs to include the basic knowledge, tips on how to apply that knowledge to real-life situations, and a sprinkling of fun. I hope I usually manage to get the mix right!
Is there a strong link between research and teaching?
With modern medical practice it is vital that our education is research informed. We have to remember that we need to teach students to be capable of practising evidence-based medicine. This means that the curriculum has to be fresh and consider tomorrow’s treatments as well as the foundations of practice. One of our important remits is to prepare students to know how to use clinical research findings in the future. It is like the Chinese Proverb – “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
If you would like to read Dr Coleman's staff profile for further information about his background, you can do this by visiting his staff profile web page.