Postgraduate Training Activity

Masters / Diplomas and Certificates:

Interactive Studies Unit personnel contribute to a range of taught programmes offered by the School of Health and Population Sciences.

List of CPD courses run by the School

Referred Doctors' Programme
Each year, doctors and dentists approach us, or are referred to us, for assistance and additional training with their communication skills and related areas. We work with about 70 people each year, always on a one-to-one basis.

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Our aim is to support the health professional in a friendly and helpful environment, and to develop his or her competence as a communicator.

Where an external body or individual has required us to write a report, we do so, and share this report with the doctor concerned. Otherwise all our sessions are entirely confidential.

What Happens

Our training varies considerably, as it is specifically tailored to suit each individual case, but a typical training programme on doctor-patient interaction might consist of:

  • A preliminary meeting between the Director (or occasionally his representative) and health professional, to discuss his/her perception of the issues at stake. An agreement on the training programme is made at this stage, and discussed with interested parties. If this includes a role-play intervention, as it often does, the next steps will be as follows;
  • The Director will brief a colleague to lead future training (or the Director may lead the training). This person will facilitate future sessions;
  • The health professional and the ISU team will together devise appropriate role-plays;
  • The health professional, a facilitator, and a Role player will meet at the University of Birmingham to undertake intensive training. We normally offer between one and three intensive sessions, often with the offer of a follow-up session in around 12 months;
  • A written report will be sent to the health professional, and if one has been requested by another party, to them as well

The health professionals we have seen have typically had a high degree of professional commitment, and a willingness to work with us to develop their expertise – experience suggests that you too will bring precisely these attitudes.

Frequently Asked Questions relating to this programme 

Training the Trainers

Medical education, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, relies massively on one-to-one and very small group teaching. This is just the nature of the discipline: you can’t learn to use a stethoscope sitting with three hundred others in a lecture theatre. It follows inevitably from this that a very large proportion of the profession get involved with training at some level, at some point in their careers – and in fact one of the requirements of Tomorrow’s doctors is that graduating doctors should have a basic educational understanding.

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Graduates must understand the principles of education as they are applied to medicine. They will be familiar with a range of teaching and learning techniques and must recognise their obligation to teach colleagues.

One of the roles of the ISU is therefore to get involved in training in the West Midlands region, not just through the Departmental commitments of individual members of the ISU to the MBChB Programme at Birmingham, nor for the trainer training some of us undertake to support that programme, but also through supporting a range of initiatives for qualified doctors and other health professionals as well.

Thus we have a longstanding commitment to West Midlands Deanery initiatives in trainer training for GPs, through John Skelton’s personal involvement over ten years to the Warwick Course for GP Trainers, and through the our Department’s subsequent involvement in successor courses. Beyond the West Midlands, we have been invited to contribute to GP Training in a number of other regions, for the UK Armed Forces in UK and in Germany, and in Ireland.

Within the Department, we also run a Certificate in Teaching and Learning, which healthcare professionals can take either on its own, or as a Module building towards a Diploma/MSc in Primary Care.

The Interactive Studies Unit has a variety of training courses available for postgraduate health care professionals. Equally, we can discuss any needs personally and create a suitable training course to meet your needs. Please contact us if you would like more information