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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 January 2019

New university course schooling doctors in how to teach 

New master’s course introduced to the UAE last month is preparing doctors, nurses, dentists and physiotherapists to train the next generation of healthcare workers

Medical practitioners are now being trained ot teach medical students critical thinking in a new master's programme just introduced to the UAE. 
Medical practitioners are now being trained ot teach medical students critical thinking in a new master's programme just introduced to the UAE. 

Doctors are going back to school in a bid to become medical teachers under a first of its kind programme in the Gulf region.

A new master’s course introduced to the UAE last month by Gulf Medical University in Ajman is preparing doctors, nurses, dentists and physiotherapists to train the next generation of healthcare workers.

While UAE students have until now been taught medicine by shadowing an already qualified practitioner, the new course equips graduates with the ability to develop curriculums and encourage critical thinking among their students the way that qualified teachers do.

Similar programmes have been available for almost 20 years in countries such as the US and UK.

David Taylor, director of the master's programme, said that under the old learning style trained medical professionals passed on their knowledge of their field, but did not have the know-how to teach the skills students need for self-directed learning.

“It was an apprenticeship model, so if somebody wanted to be a doctor, they would go and work with a well-known doctor and learn how to become as good,” he said.

Yet with developments in the health and medicine gathering pace it is more and more important for medical staff to be able to adapt and develop their knowledge base.

“Our task is to make sure that doctors who are teaching medical students understand how to teach efficiently in a way that allows students to learn how to learn. The days when you could memorise a text book and be confident that what you knew was right have gone,” said Mr Taylor.

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Professor Hossam Hamdy, principal of GMU, said that more than 50 internationally renowned professors contributed to preparing the content of the programme.

“The quality of medical services is closely connected to the quality of medical education, and by improving the latter, medical services will greatly be enhanced,” said Dr Hossam.

Dr Ahmad Atif, who teaches at GMU’s dental college, said that prior to the course's launch he had applied to the same programme in the UK.

“It was very important for me to join the programme because it prepares us as teachers to keep up with developments in effective teaching methods,” he said.

When he knew a similar programme was to start in the UAE, he stopped his application to the UK programme and joined the one here.

“The hours are flexible to accommodate the needs of its students, since most of them are working in the medical field,” he said.

The master's was launched in co-operation with the American Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research.

It offers a one-year diploma and a two-year master's degree and promises its graduates an array of skills to better teach students.

Updated: December 29, 2018 02:10 PM

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