Doctors for Wales: developing an undergraduate BSc ‘feeder stream’ to Graduate Entry Medicine.


Author (s) Melanie Healy, Nia Ann Davies, Jessica Fletcher, Jodie Croxall, & Lisa Wallace


The shortage of doctors in Wales is well documented. In 2017, Swansea University Medical School launched the Applied Medical Sciences (AMS) BSc Honours programme, in part to combat this shortage. The innovative programme aims to prepare future medical scientists for careers in (1) Research, (2) Enterprise and Innovation, and (3) Professional Practice. The objective of the third employability strand is to familiarise students with the Welsh NHS; the role of the doctor in the healthcare team; and health challenges faced by the Welsh population. It is hoped that by grounding students in the Welsh healthcare landscape this will inspire students to apply to Welsh graduate-entry medicine programmes and, once their training is complete, stay in Wales to practice. To track this, we are proposing a prospective study of the retention of our first four AMS student cohorts. This session aims to outline our study design, proposed research questions and data analysis plans.


In order to increase the numbers of Doctors in Wales we have developed a new BSc Honours programme in Applied Medical Sciences (AMS) which we hope will serve as a ‘feeder-stream’ for Swansea University’s Graduate-entry Medicine MBBCh (GEM) course. This research study aims to address the hypothesis that familiarising undergraduate AMS students with the Welsh NHS; inspiring them through innovative teaching practices; and incentivising through guaranteed interviews to GEM (subject to achieving academic competencies) will lead an increase in the number of Graduate-Entry Doctors trained, and practicing, in Wales. This presentation will outline our (1) strategy for recruiting students to Wales through innovative teaching practices and employability focussed curricula design; (2) study design and (3) address current research questions including the importance of A-Level tariff, distance from Swansea at application, development of career aspirations over the course trajectory, grades, uptake of employability opportunities, retention and Welsh Language. This presentation would be of interest to colleagues involved in developing new undergraduate programmes, especially those focussed on bridging gaps in professional practice. Moreover, discussion on lessons learned through the process of introducing a new programme within an established Medical school regarding student pools, and on curricula mapping would be beneficial to academics irrespective of discipline.

Key Words

Medical Sciences, Curriculum mapping, Employability, Evaluation, Student retention.

Key Messages

Key messages • Strategic development of an undergraduate Applied Medical Sciences programme to bridge a gap in in the Welsh workforce, and increase Swansea University student numbers • Building learner-teacher relationships; from Clearing through Year 1. • Data collection matters! Spending time now to collect the right data will help inform student recruitment and increase tariff, student numbers and retention; curricula development; grades and identify employability opportunities. • We propose that co-creating a student identity with our students and building student confidence, resilience and employment opportunities is paramount to building a successful course and recruiting our graduates onto post-graduate medical programmes thus keeping well trained staff in Wales.


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