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Bond University Medical Students Hit the Ground Running

After many years of planning and fine tuning, Bond University has welcomed its first medical students to the campus as classes commenced on Monday 16 May. The group of 72 students claimed the honour of being the first student group of Australia’s only fully private and independent Medical Program.

Bond was given approval to commence the Medical program in November 2004 after impressing the Australian Medical Council through various accreditation phases. The Program immediately attracted significant interest from quality applicants, generating much more interest than positions available. Hundreds of applications were received for only 72 places.

Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine Dean, Professor Chris Del Mar said the interview panel was impressed by both the academic credentials and communication capability of the candidates .

"Our assessment process was highly discerning, and we are confident that with such a starting point, our educational strategy and extensive clinical experience will produce graduates with the necessary skills and abilities to become effective doctors ," said Professor Del Mar.

"They are a diverse group, the majority being Australian school leavers with a significant number of graduates from various disciplines, and a small number of overseas students," he said.

The Medical curriculum focuses on the presentation of clinical cases that combine a range of symptoms, possible diagnoses and disciplines.

Associate Professor, Dr Vivienne O'Connor said Bond medical students would benefit greatly from the Standardised Patient Program.

"Instead of learning in ‘layers’ where students move from one subject to the next every six months, they are introduced to case-based learning from the first week of classes," said Dr O'Connor.

“Essentially, this means our students will be put in a ‘real-life’ clinical situation with simulated patients, where their teachers can provide them with instruction and feedback. This ‘safe’ environment develops students' confidence and competence prior to them commencing their extensive clinical experience in hospitals, general and specialist practices,” she said.

Each group of 12 students has a dedicated tutor, who is either medically qualified or holds relevant scientific qualifications. Senior academic staff have also met with each student individually to discuss their aspirations, background and any learning or support needs, to enable each one to achieve their best.

The new training facilities include clinical skills rooms which emulate a doctor’s surgery . These rooms are fitted out with video streaming technologies to assist student coaching. Feedback can also be provided on their developing clinical communication skills.

The Bond medical program continues to experience overwhelming support from the local medical community. This is being demonstrated by significant benefactor support, offers to provide student mentoring and clinical placements, involvement in teaching, and the development of student support material.

A scholarship has also been provided for a Medical student via Gold Coast based ophthalmologist , Associate Professor Dr John Kearney, to accompany him and his team on their June 2005 trip to East Timor to operate at their local eye clinic. The team leaves for East Timor on June 11 with medical student Fleur Dwyer.

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