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This is how the new vision for the medical degree programme looks

Lots of ideas have been in play during the past months for finding the best way to educate the medical doctors of the future. The process, which has involved students, course managers, employers and others, has now resulted in a finished vision and a strategic basis for the degree programme.

How is it possible to strike a balance between the need for medical students to learn practical skills, so that they can begin working as medical doctors directly after graduating, and the need for them to have time to learn an academic and problem-solving approach to unpredictable situations? How can we create space for flexibility and freedom of choice while, at the same time, honouring a desire for everyone to still have core expertise? And how can we ensure better coherence in future between basic science, clinical science and the practical knowledge that transverses the degree programme? 

These are just some of the issues that have been discussed by the medical degree programme’s stakeholders in connection with the preparation of the vision and the strategic basis for the medical degree programme at Health. The vision (in Danish only) is now ready and has been approved by the dean of Health.

Must support lifelong learning 

The new vision and strategy consists of pointers that must ensure that the medical degree programme prepares the coming medical doctors for an unpredictable future. Many of these pointers can be identified in the degree programme as it is today. Graduates must still have core medical expertise and they must know the body’s anatomy, be able to insert a drip and to make a diagnosis. But with rapid technological development, no one knows precisely what a future medical doctor should be able to do. For this reason, an important part of the vision is that the degree programme must support students' ability to wonder about things and to question the existing situation. The goal is for students to resolve issues and problems in collaboration with others in an innovative way and for them to improve the quality of healthcare services.

"The degree programme must provide the students with an academic approach to its practical aspects, so that they understand the theory, mechanisms and technology behind what they do. In this way, the degree programme supports the lifelong learning that is required to be a medical doctor today. We need to stimulate the students’ sense of wonder and critical reflection about how things are normally done, because they are the ones who must continue to develop the field and the treatment options in the future. They will need an innovative, self-governing and problem-solving approach to the complex and unpredictable situations they will face," says Charlotte Ringsted, vice-dean for education at Health. 

In addition, the degree programme must provide a higher degree of support for developing digital competences and collaborative skills across sectors compared to today. At the same time, the strategy recommends that relevant social issues and an international perspective should be continuously incorporated, so that the degree programme is more oriented towards the outside world. The students must also obtain knowledge of the Life Science industry, so they can help to develop medical technology.

The board of studies for medicine will take the next step 

The strategy further recommends a change in the way exams are utilised. Tests and exams should not be solely used as final exams in a subject, but should instead be used during a semester as a tool for continuous feedback in order to support the students' learning process. 

The Centre for Health Sciences Education (CESU) has prepared a report as inspiration for the ongoing work of identifying international trends within medical degree programmes with specific examples from other universities.

It is now up to the board of studies for medicine to find out how the vision and strategy can be implemented in the medical degree programme. The work will begin after the summer holidays.

Read the vision in its entirety here (in Danish only). 


Vice-dean for Education Charlotte Ringsted
Aarhus University, Health
Mobile: (+45) 9350 8222
Email: charlotte.ringsted@au.dk