Curriculum and Assessment
The curricular philosophy revolves around principles of adult learning which encompasses self- directness, contextual learning and building knowledge on prior experiences. Main learning strategy is small group learning with an emphasis on team work. Self-directed learning is promoted and the students are encouraged to reflect on their experience for self-assessment and lifelong learning.
Shifa College of Medicine has always set high standards and has been determined to excel in the field of medical education through research and innovation. Recognizing the need of the hour and inspired by the global changes in medical education, it was decided by our Dean (late) Dr. Muhammad Amin to switch over from traditional curriculum to system-based integrated modular curriculum.
A task force was constituted under the chairmanship of Professor Dr. Khawaja Abbas, which included senior faculty members both from basic and clinical sciences who developed spirally integrated modules. Integrated modular curriculum was implemented in 2008 and is successfully being followed since then. The curriculum is regularly reviewed for improvement by the faculty and required amendments are made after input from the concerned stakeholders.
The curriculum works towards achieving its mission by focusing on key roles of a physician
“Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Manager, Health Advocate, Scholar and Professional” as identified in the CanMEDS. These roles have been clarified and defined by Key competencies, which have been further outlined into multiple enabling competencies. The enabling competencies specify the behaviors, skills and attitudes that must be displayed by the learner.
Shifa College of Medicine follows a spiral curriculum which is organized in three spirals. Spirals 1 & 2 span over three calendar years comprising system-based integrated modules with a focus on the “Basis of Medicine”. Whereas spiral 3 comprising clinical clerkships spans over last two years with a focus on “Practice of Medicine”.
In the first 3 years the curriculum is divided into modules. Two – three modules make a block. Study guides for each module have been developed. Clinical cases are used as triggers for learning in these modules. Year 1 and 2 deal with the normal structure, function and biochemical aspects of human body which are taught with relevance to the clinical context. Pathology, Pharmacology, Forensic and Community Medicine are integrated where appropriate.
Year 3 deals with abnormal structure and function, pharmacological aspects of therapeutics and medico legal aspects which are delivered in clinical context. Students also get clinical exposure through clinical rotations during this time.
Year 4 and 5 comprise of junior and senior clerkships respectively. During this time the students are provided with an opportunity for comprehensive clinical experience along with an opportunity for 10 weeks of electives, divided into two blocks of 5 weeks each, at the end of year 4 and year 5 for national/international clinical exposure or research. Research, behavioral sciences including ethics, communication skill, Professionalism and evidence based medicine are addressed in an integrated manner throughout the curriculum as longitudinal theme. Islamiat and Pakistan studies are also included in the curriculum.
Record of student performance during each module or clerkship is maintained in logbooks/portfolios that contribute towards the internal assessment.
Large group interactive sessions
These sessions are used to introduce the clinical theme and to discuss concepts in an interactive manner utilizing audio visual aids.
Small group discussions
Some of the objectives included in the curriculum, are discussed in small groups of 8-12 students. These sessions involve a faculty member who facilitates the discussion. These discussions are structured in a way that the case scenarios are read by the students followed by brainstorming within the group about the application of learnt knowledge, and clarification of concepts by the facilitator.
Problem based learning sessions
PBL is utilized as one of the learning strategies for some objectives. Three sessions for one problem are conducted with an interval of 1-2 days. In the first session students identify objectives related to that particular case, followed by self-assigned tasks and discussions in the subsequent sessions.
Integrated practical sessions
Students are divided into groups which perform relevant practicals in basic sciences and clinical skill laboratories.
Sufficient time is allocated for self-directed learning. The students are expected to utilize this time effectively reflecting and improving on the knowledge and skills acquired either individually or collectively in groups.
SCIL Sessions (Shifa Clinical Skills & Informatics Laboratory)
SCIL lab is used for teaching and assessment with the help of mannequins, models and simulations. It provides an opportunity to practice clinical and procedural skills, history taking, physical examination and communication skills.
In addition, the students experience Basic Life Support (BLS) in Year 1, Basic Trauma and Life Support (BTLS) in Year 4 and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) in Year 5.
Teaching strategies used in clerkships vary, depending upon the requirement of specialty. Commonly used strategies include small groups, morning reports, case reports, Mini CEX, case write-ups, bedside teaching and others.
Both formative and summative assessments are used to assess the performance of the students. Students are assessed during each session and constructive feedback is given for reflection and clarification of the concepts. Summative exam is conducted at the end of each module. Skills are assessed in integrated practical examination carried out at the end of each block. Forty percent of the marks obtained in end of module exams and continuous assessment contribute towards internal assessment for final professional examination. Likewise, 40% of the marks in Block IPE contribute towards internal assessment for final professional examination.