The Interactive Studies Unit (ISU) is based in the Birmingham Medical School, College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. We have a 28-year history of delivering Clinical Communication, Language and Professionalisation education across clinical/healthcare disciplines. The first communication courses using professional simulated patients took place on the Medicine programme in 1991. We now work cross programmes (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Physician Associate, Dental Hygiene …and externally Veterinary Medicine). The team comprises a Reader in Medical Education, two Lecturers (Clinical Communication and Medical Education), a Clinical Lecturer, an STF in Healthcare Linguistics, and have operational management and support from three Professional Services staff. The ISU simulated patient/colleague team number in excess of 100, and additionally comprises the Institute’s ACEs (Associate Clinical Educators) and GTAs (Gynaecological Teaching Associates).
Communication teaching at Birmingham has moved far from the traditional ‘skills based’ approaches associated with very early development, to become an integrated and complex concern. Curriculum development focusses therefore on professionalisation, character and values-based practice. The ISU seeks to remain a significant contributor nationally and internationally in the education and development of thoughtful, values-based healthcare practitioners who will be a credit to their professions. We do this by shaping the field in areas of communication, but through a focus on the relationship between interaction, professional development and the embodiment of values. Simulation is a major resource for teaching about – and assessing – human interaction, and supporting/remediating learners (1-1) across programmes when extra help is needed.
As the ISU works across programmes there is a unique opportunity to embed a consistent approach and shared understanding/resources between learners on the various degrees. Our aspiration is to roll out of the complex 4-year simulated community we offer to the MPharm Programme. All work is aligned closely to the primary outcome of patient and public safety.
Summary of Role
We are seeking a seasoned healthcare educator, with a focussed interest in and creative approach towards communication/professionalism, to join our team. The successful applicant will contribute to the Institute’s mission to produce top graduates ready for their first day of work. The remit is non-clinical (in that we do not teach clinical knowledge) but the context of the teaching is within clinical scenarios, co-created with clinical colleagues.
The postholder will work flexibly across teaching (primarily but not exclusively small groups). Such teaching frequently involves facilitation of simulated patient/simulated colleague workshops, providing detailed, evidenced feedback to learners on their personal professional development in the NHS context, and their communication/language abilities. We have large programmes so managing multiple rotations of small groups is standard.
There is an education leadership remit; the postholder will personally oversee an identified component, strand or year(s) of teaching, taking responsibility for design, implementation, delivery and communications with senior programme stakeholders. Stakeholder management is therefore integral to the role.
The post holder may support other elements of teaching, such as Professional Academic Skills, ethics groups, or other small group/seminar activities (according to specialism/experience). Design of classroom and online materials in communication and professionalism would be expected, along with the degree of assessment consummate with a healthcare education lecturer role (written, live, poster exams, eg).
A core part of the role will be joining the ISU expert coaching team for individual support of students referred for serious difficulties. Students can arrive under the broad term ‘communication’, but issues identified are typically far more complex and multifactorial; areas such as confidence, integrity, culture, organisation, motivation and so forth. Attendees can be vulnerable, and while the service is broadly supportive, we are sometimes engaged with conduct (Fitness to Practice) cases. The successful candidate will need good judgement and be able to role model professionalism.
The postholder is likely, once suitably familiarised with the programmes, to be offered a Personal Academic Tutor role (mentor to a small UG group), and our team have growing links with the Institute’s Interprofessional Education strategy, which would be a potential interest for our new lecturer going forward.
We hope the postholder will have a strong interest in human simulation, and be able to engage with the expansion of our growing (freelance) simulated patient/colleague team. A particular priority for this post – and us all – will be contributing to the very large operation that is the OSCE exam season across Trusts. This is in terms of both having enough trained role players for the simulated patient stations, and ensuring smooth exam logistics.
ISU members contribute to wider College life via, e.g., open days and admissions interviewing, and would anticipate similar opportunities for our new colleague. The nature/type of scholarship or research opportunity will be discussed in the light of the successful applicant’s personal interest and history, but engagement with contribution to the field and sharing good practice beyond the University is expected.
Precise allocation of time varies according to Programme/Institute needs and priorities, but (broadly) an expectation is – across the year 50 % on core ISU education design and delivery (teaching, testing and coaching), 25% education management and 25% institute priorities, scholarship, citizenship, and contribution to the wider organisation. Probation and PDR processes are in place, and will be supported via line management).
Teaching focused Lecturer role-holders will:
Learning and Teaching
• Component Lead Clinical Communication for a designated area of MBChB and/or MPharm;
• The opportunity to bring an area of personal specialism that could be offered across the clinical/healthcare degree programmes;
• Coaching students (1-1) referred for serious (progression) difficulty with professionalism, communication, language;
• To teach and examine courses at all levels, i.e. undergraduate, postgraduate, through lectures, seminars and personal supervision. Including small group teaching – facilitation across programmes. Often with role played simulated patient/colleagues. Live & Virtual;
• [Occasional] large group lectures/forums. Live & Virtual;
• Contribution to novel curriculum design (and implementation) on professionalisation;
• Scholarship – public dissemination and contribution to wider education development beyond Birmingham;
• Contribution (supported) to role player recruitment and training for the simulated patient team;
• Marking of summative and formative, primarily UG, degree assignments;
• Working with the ISU to ensure the safe delivery of OSCE (exam) cycles;
• Contribution to the ISU resource bank of creative multi-media self-directed/reflective learning resources;
• Role in delivering integrated/hybrid/VR programmes as facilities and requirements develop;
• Contributing to the administration of research and teaching across the School
• Contributing to administrative activities within the University (e.g. appeals panels, working groups)
• Active participation in subject group meetings
• Undertake academic course-related administrative tasks, including attendance at Examination Boards, as appropriate
• To participate in student recruitment activities where appropriate
• Communication with internal and external ISU clients;
• Citizenship, role modelling and contribution to the life of the Institute/College
• Undertake personal professional development as advised
• Proven track record in medical education
• Teaching/facilitation/assessment experience in communication and/or professionalism and/or language
• Course and/or curriculum design experience
• Degree in a related area, plus postgraduate degree and/or teacher training qualification/accreditation
• Familiarity with the NHS context/culture
• Awareness of the evidence base, and the importance of evidence-based teaching/testing approaches
• Knowledge and experience of simulation [including role play] in healthcare
• Exemplary oral and written communication
• Experience of learner support
• Appreciation and application of reflective practice/values-based approaches to Teaching, Learning & Assessment
• Ability to develop insight and reflective practice in others (UG learners and PGs – teacher training, peer support, eg).
• IT literacy – Word, Excel (basic), PowerPoint; ability to be comfortable with delivering education on virtual platforms
• Good timekeeping, and ability to flexibly manage multiple – and rapidly changing – priorities.
Scholarship/publication track record, 1-1 coaching experience, consistent application of theory to practice, interest in/experience of development of e-learning
A range of backgrounds may be appropriate, as examples – but not limited to – medical humanities, simulation, education, interactive management, linguistics, psychology, ethics, communication in other public or private sectors. Applications are also welcome from individuals who are/were previously HCPs, with experience of education in their discipline – healthcare backgrounds have obvious relevance (although please note this appointment is on an academic related rather than clinical scale).
Valuing excellence, sustaining investment
We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working