MD Information

VP 2017 Wrap-up

What a year. 2017 began with the introduction of Progress Tests, Team Based Learning, and all sorts of other little changes. It is fair to say that some aspects have been tough, for both staff and students; but all in all, we have taken the changes in our stride. From an FMSS point of view, we have certainly noticed a culture shift within medicine – which is to be expected when you shift from a cram-style once-a-block-exam assessment to weekly quizzes and progress testing. As we all (including the College) get used to Programmatic Assessment for Learning, we hope that as a cohort we learn how to enjoy the little things along the way, rather than getting swept up in the current of progressive assessment.

It has been through the continued efforts of the exec team and year level reps that FMSS has built on our strong relationship with the college to try and influence decisions where possible. We can all agree that there is a lot of work before all the teething issues are worked out, so thank you all for your ongoing support and willingness to communicate through FMSS.

Taking a moment to reflect on the year, it has been a fantastic year for FMSS and the MD cohort.


Social: We began the year with the largest Med Camp in FMSS history, which combined with the spectacularly organised O-Week made for an excellent introduction to Medicine for 2017’s MD1s. Social also held the first cost neutral Med Ball in decades, meaning a more sustainable social budget without compromising on amazing food, music and vibes!

Engagement: Launched a new merch fashion line, with postage, regular pickup times, and all bought in bulk to save students money. It has been a priority of ours this year to strengthen our relationship with the other Med Socs at Flinders, we believe that working together we can achieve a lot more than if we compete – so far we have only seen good things.

Education: Continuation of MD1 peer teaching in the light of PAL, as well as the introduction of MD2 peer teaching.

Community: New benchmarks set with money raised for the Leukaemia Foundation going just over $9000 and $1800 for Daffodil Day. They built on last year’s amazing work with Teddy Bear Hospital, running a total of three sessions to cater for the demand, as well as introducing new competitions for Vampire Cup to capitalise on that competitive med student nature for a good cause!

Women’s Portfolio: Continued on the epic build-up of the last two years, particularly with the Yarrow Place workshop, and successfully brought Female Genital Mutilation awareness into the MD curriculum.

Wellbeing: As mentioned above, this year and all its changes have been tough on the cohort, so the HW&AD portfolio has been working hard behind the scenes. This is not to mention the massive Mental Health in Medicine night that sparked a lot of interest from the College. We hope that this interest translates into better resources available for Medical Students going through a difficult time.


Additionally, FMSS has reinvented our Grants programme, introducing Financial Hardship Grants and Emergency Vouchers that are available all year long (or at least until we run out of money!)

We would like to say a big thank you to marketing and I.T. as a lot of what they do goes unnoticed, but without them, we wouldn’t have the beautiful posters, a website on which to sell our merch, nor even a design for this magazine.

We are both looking forward to seeing what the clinical years hold and would like to thank the FMSS committee for being such an incredible team with which to work. We also want to say a massive thank you to our phenomenal President, Anna, who has been a part of FMSS for five years now, all while blitzing med and raising two beautiful kids. It is time for her to say goodbye to the FMSS and Flinders Med family now, and we’ll miss her dearly. We hope that all our MD4s have a great life as interns next year and know that the Grad Week team have an excellent send-off planned.


Happy holidays, everybody, and no doubt we’ll see you in 2018! 

<3 Julie & Harrison

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MD2 Changes & Update

Despite some challenges, on the whole MD2 came through pretty well. Most of our issues arose from being the hybrid year between the old and new teaching (read: assessment) systems.

Progress testing
Like other years, MD2 felt the pressure of programmatic assessment of learning, which most interpreted as equating to our marks in the progress tests. Stress was high after the first and second PTs as uncertainty and misinformation about remediation was rampant. With time, and clearer communication from the school, we seem to have come to terms with PTs, even they’re by no means perfect.

Weekly quizzes
Earlier in the year weekly quizzes (which was our assessment in the absence of TBL) were initially a source of upset. With unclear expectations due to LO –> quiz question mismatch, they were difficult to study for, and were often poorly worded. After a shaky start (and a period of ~strong advocacy~) we were able to work with the school to achieve a compromise. Perhaps the proudest moment for MD2 was, amongst ourselves as a cohort, resolving a growing aggression towards weekly quiz presenters before it became a major issue. This earned us major brownie points with the school and should have saved our reputation on the wards. 
Heckin great cohort

The initiative of this cohort as a whole in using and strengthening lines of communication with the school (RIP Anna Vnuk’s spare time) really pulled us through a bumpy ride.
Yes, MD2, you smashed it.


MD3 Changes & Updates

The year 3 MD program has undergone dramatic change in 2017.

For the first time, students have been allocated longitudinal placements, covering up to 10 - and even 15 - weeks attachment on a unit. Students were divided into different ‘streams’, with focusses on Medicine, Surgery or General Practice.
This new philosophy comes from medical education innovation in Scandinavia and America, and there have been significant teething problems in implementation; as well as ongoing debate as to the usefulness of overall deeper exposure, with the trade-off being a much narrower year 3 experience. 

There was accordingly significant alteration to assessment in year 3, as there has been across the course, and all of this chaos in transition has been amplified by the structural university changes, dismantling the medical school and amalgamating it into a broader, more centralised college structure. FMSS has expressed significant concerns about the outcomes of this, and especially the process, and we wait expectantly for the college to come good on its promise to support the essential staff and work of the year 3 transition. 

The year 3 program is pioneering for Australia and joins an elite international group using progressive curricula, which nevertheless requires vigilant scrutiny from students and faculty alike as we adapt it to best serve our graduates’ experience and for our future patients.

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MD4 2017 Update

MD4 report 2017- Tom Condon 4th Year Representative

2017 has been a year of transition for 4th years as it has been for the whole course with much changing again next year to bring the entire program into line with programmatic assessment.

2017 marks the first year where students graduate having done 4 years of advanced studies and the first year of capstone (which is a fancy word for the final term of advanced studies). For the whole most people were able to complete their advanced studies project or at least demonstrate they produced an assessable outcome piece however several students needed to remediate doing an evidence based medicine project and an audit in the second half of the year. There was some concern regarding standardisation of the marks for advanced studies between assessors however the marks on the whole were quite high (but lacked much spread) and I anticipate that assessment for advanced studies will continue to be an issue for future cohorts in terms of validity and meaningfulness.

Feedback has been a continual problem for 4th years with the forms that get submitted for our term assessments being confidential and contact only made if borderline or failed. Many students complained that the feedback given at the end of the term was either non-existent or fairly superficial/rushed. Whilst we understand there will always be variability in the clinical environment we do think students deserve to be able to see how they are marked and to get meaningful feedback.

2018 MD4 program appears to have several changes proposed most notably the progress tests with MD4’s required to do at least 2 of these in 2018 (out of 4 total). Elective terms and holiday term appear unchanged at this stage which will be a relief to many students. There was talk of introducing a year 4 OSCE but I can say that there will be no OSCE in 2018 at least. The other notable change will be doing away with the current term assessment forms and introducing GAP assessment which is more multifaceted and includes a meeting to discuss performance on the wards as well as progress tests, advanced studies and other parts of the curriculum. I am told that the GAP assessments whilst new to year 4 are not new to the year 4’s of 2018 who should be familiar which brings year 4 into line with the rest of the course.

Internship offers are currently out however many local students still do not have a job, we have been assured by SAIMET that this is normal for this time of year and they are guaranteeing a spot for all local graduates which we intend ensure happens. Needless to say this creates some anxiety amongst 4th years whom are still in limbo despite these reassurances. There is much background talk about introducing merit based internship however at this stage there is no consensus of how this would look or when it will arrive and will certainly not affect the 2017 cohort.

Entering our final term of our degree many of us are keenly anticipating the next major leap in our careers to finally graduating and becoming doctors. I can say to all other year levels that despite the stress regarding changing curriculum and uncertainty, that medical students are exceptional people and I have all the confidence that no matter the precise route you take that you will make it work because you are hardworking and very intelligent people. I have enjoyed my 4 years as a Flinders Medical Student and 4 years working on the FMSS committee and I wish everyone all the best going forward for 2018.

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