What happened at INMED?

November 6, 2013

In late September the IFGH co-hosted a symposium on medical electives in conjunction with the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED). The discussion ranged from the role of electives, the responsibilities of medical schools, to fundraising and insuring ethical electives.

All medical schools in Ireland were represented, although attendance was not limited to medicine alone, as people from schools of nursing and dentistry, and representatives of student volunteering bodies also attended.

Dr Jon Dowell’s presentation described the work of the UK Medical Schools Council Working Group on Electives, which is collating documentation on processes in the 32 medical schools in the UK.

Dr Victor Mukonka described the experiences of receiving medical students from Ireland other countries, including the mutual benefits for students and receiving institutions. He offered some suggestions on coordination between medical schools, and on pre-departure preparation of students.

Dr O’Donnell described some of the findings of his qualitative research on students’ experiences of international health electives and also offered suggestions to improve preparation. His study raises questions about student fundraising, and the differences between electives and volunteering experiences.

In the summaries of activities in each medical school Dr Alice McGarvey from RCSI reported on a workshop she attended on electives at the International Association on Medical Education, and on the Global Education in Medicine Exchange (GEM http://www.gemxelectives.org) initiative that RCSI and TCD have joined.

The presentations will be made available through the Irish Forum for Global Health.


Following the symposium, the following points were agreed upon:

  • Meet again at the INMED meeting in Belfast  (Feb 20-21 2014)

  • Discuss electives with Irish Medical Council and invite the Council to attend the February meeting in Belfast

  • Share pre-departure preparation documentation and explore the possibility of draft shared guidelines

  • Ask risk managers in the different universities / medical schools to link on elective issues

  • Consider a shared register of sites / students experiences

  • Consider how some ‘beacon sites’ could be developed in to longer term partnerships.


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