Annex Q: ScotGEM Students
The students of ScotGEM Years 1 and 2 were surveyed on whether they wanted both the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee badges on their certificate on graduation. This was to reflect the potential outcome of the proposal to reinstate the ability of the University of St Andrews to award a Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ). There are currently 108 students across Years 1 and 2 of the ScotGEM programme and 58 students responded with a 97.5% vote in favour of both university badges being on their degree certificate. There is perhaps a lack of uptake on the survey from students due to the fact that this occurred right after finishing exams and students tend to disengage with university matters to focus on relaxing and enjoying their summer holidays. One student voted for an option that was not possible and perhaps misunderstood the survey question – but the sentiment behind their answer was that St Andrews should be represented.
Students in ScotGEM are students of both universities from day one of the four-year programme. Students have the privilege to live, study and explore both St Andrews and Dundee during ScotGEM. We are often asked as a cohort whether we see ourselves as St Andrews students, Dundee students, or something else; and the answer is that most students see themselves as 'ScotGEM students' because we are different to most other undergraduate students. I do not know too many students who can live in Dundee, go to lectures in St Andrews, study in the library in Dundee and enjoy clinical placements in Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, and the Highlands all in the same academic year.
While student emotions were not directly surveyed, I think there would be a deep disappointment and frustration amongst the student cohort if this proposal was not accepted. Students are fully aware that there are contingencies in place and that their graduation with a PMQ is guaranteed with the University of Dundee if the proposal fails. However, I think that students fully expect to graduate from both medical schools as that is how the course was pitched to us when applying to ScotGEM and if that were not to materialise then it would be met with feelings of unfairness and a false promise. There is a sense from students, faculty and the patients we interact with that this is a unique way of teaching medicine – educating more mature students in collaboration between two universities – and we feel it should be recognised as such.
All students will be managed by the University of St Andrews for the first two years of the course and with that comes the responsibility of ensuring each student performs academically, has their wellbeing monitored and protected, and their development as a future medical professional nurtured through exposure to simulations, patients and clinical placements. The task both Universities undertake is considerable – and both will have a huge impact on each student as they progress through ScotGEM. I feel that is why the students who have responded have done so in such unanimous fashion. I think there is a general consensus that if we were to graduate with only the University of Dundee badge – as may be the case if this proposal is not pursued or approved – it would not reflect the reality and lived experience of being a ScotGEM student.
Students will have preferences over which city, university or medical school they enjoyed more when looking back after graduation as doctors, but I think none of us will be able to deny that both medical schools will have moulded us into the doctors we become – and this should be reflected in our degree certificates – and the law.
Andrew MacFarlane – on behalf of ScotGEM Years 1 & 2