As a school we are committed to supporting our students, and we recognise that the medical course is a demanding programme. It is not unusual to experience difficulties at some point during your time in Nottingham.
Life events can occur to all of us, and the specific demands of the medical programme can also present additional challenges that would not be apparent for non-healthcare related students. Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to access appropriate support, whether this is for yourself or for a friend.
To make it easier for you as a student to get the help and support you need, we have two different forms that can be completed by anyone. These are:
- the Request for Support form and
- the Request for Intervention form
These forms have now been in existence for more than a year, and have been completed by university staff, members of staff in partner NHS sites, and fellow students. The forms can also be completed by students on their own behalf, and by members of the public.
Which form should be used?
The Request for Support form should be completed where it is thought that a student might benefit from additional help. It may be that a student is experiencing personal, professional, emotional or health problems that are affecting his or her study or performance in some way. In response to this form, following review by senior pastoral staff, students can be referred to the most appropriate person or service who can provide the additional support that the student needs.
In the vast majority of cases, our students demonstrate excellent professional behaviour during their time with us. We do, however have a responsibility to their patients, colleagues, and to the students themselves to ensure that appropriate behaviour is always displayed. For this reason, we have a Request for Intervention form, which may be completed by anyone to alert the Professionalism team where specific interventions may be needed in order to ensure that a student develops the necessary professionalism competencies to remain on the course.
In rare cases, it would be the Request for Intervention form that would be the precursor of the fitness to practise procedures. However, in most cases, the outcome would involve a combination of pastoral support and remediation, for example, through reflection; only very rarely has it been necessary to introduce any formal disciplinary or fitness to practice procedures as a result of the completion of the form.
What happens once a form is submitted
When either form is received, there will be an opportunity for review by senior pastoral or professionalism staff. A meeting will usually be arranged between the student in question and a senior tutor or clinical sub-dean (in the case of a support form) or the professionalism lead (in the case of an intervention form).
If further information is obtained, it may be deemed appropriate to ‘downgrade’ a Request for Intervention to one for Support. More rarely, it may be appropriate for reasons of patient safety to consider activating an Intervention request following review of a Support Form. However, we would like to reemphasise that this is rare and most cases continue to be resolved by additional support.