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Medical education

Woman presenting to a professional audience 

Medical education is part of the wider field of healthcare professions education, in which the science of learning and the science of instruction are specifically applied in the context of the healthcare professions.

Medical education draws on the fields of education, psychology and sociology (among others) and covers a range of areas such as: teaching and learning, assessment, curriculum design, and research.

Teaching and training is a huge and important part of healthcare. Medical educators can be teachers, assessors or programme leads in Universities or in clinical settings and they play a vital role in teaching and training the next generation of healthcare professionals. 


What is medical education?

Nicola Cooper, Consultant Physician and Educator, talks about:

  • what her medical education work involves 
  • how a masters has benefited her practice

Joel Kaziro, Foundation Year 1 Doctor and former chemistry teacher in a secondary school, talks about:

  • why medical education appeals to him
  • where his future might lie


What activities are involved in medical education? Includes two videos

You might be involved in:

  • delivering teaching in the classroom
  • facilitating learning in busy clinical environments
  • observing learners and giving feedback
  • supervising, coaching or mentoring
  • designing modules, placements or whole programmes
  • writing exam questions or setting exams
  • implementing course feedback and evaluation processes
  • supporting learners with their career development

My interest in medical education

Victoria Fisher, Academic Foundation Year 1 Doctor talks about:

  • her Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education
  • the parts of the course she particularly enjoyed

My interest in mentoring and coaching

Robert Cullum, Clinical Teaching Fellow, talks about:

  • why he chose to do a masters in medical education
  • the highlights of the course and how this fits with his career aim


Who gets involved in medical education? Includes case studies and videos

Many medical educators are doctors (though not all) and balance their clinical careers with medical education in some way. People from lots of different backgrounds are involved in healthcare professions education, for example:

Equally, people from all experience levels can get involved in medical education, from student to senior healthcare professional. 

Case studies

Read Leia Boote’s story about how her teaching interests developed during her undergraduate degree and how the experience helped her secure her current role as an anatomy teaching technician at the University.

Leia Boote,  Anatomy Teaching Technician at the University of Nottingham

Ryan Jennings has been an acute medical specialist nurse in the Royal Navy for 14 years, he also oversees the recruitment of new specialist medical roles. Read his tips and advice for pursuing a career in this area.

Ryan Jennings, Acute Medical Specialist Nurse, Royal Navy 

Veterinary surgeon, Professor Kate Cobb, developed her career within academia to get involved with teaching veterinary students. Read about her career path and advice for you.

Professor Kate Cobb, Director of Education at the University of Nottingham

Listen to Dr Vicky Strong, Lecturer in Animal Science and Veterinary Nursing at Nottingham Trent University talks about her interest in research, the skills she developed and her advice on a career in research.

Dr Vicky Strong, Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University

Developing my career

Razi Paracha, Paediatric Registrar, talks about:

  • why he decided to take the masters in medical education
  • what he enjoyed about the course
  • where his future lies 

Be clinically credible

Iain McVicar, Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon talks about:

  • the importance of medical education
  • being clinically credible
  • how to get involved early on in your studies

What qualifications are available in medical education? Includes two videos

Several universities offer postgraduate certificates, diplomas and masters in medical education. Some people go on to gain masters or PhDs in the subject and go on to develop leadership or research careers in medical education.

You can also undertake shorter online open access courses for example, the Developing Expert Educators for Healthcare Professions offered by the University of Nottingham.

For postgraduate doctors, some Foundation and Specialty Training Programmes may offer a medical education component alongside formal clinical training. A formal qualification, such as a postgraduate certificate or masters in medical education, is usually part of this training. Some doctors may also go on to focus their careers in academic medicine, combining clinical practice with research and teaching responsibilities.

What I got out of my masters

Sunjay Parmar, Clinical Teaching Fellow, talks about:

  • the masters in medical education
  • where he sees his future

The best of both worlds

Simon Gay, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Education Governance talks about:

  • his career journey
  • enthusiasm for clinical practice and education


What is important to consider when choosing a course?

Courses in medical education may have varying titles depending on the institution, so it’s important to consider this as part of any further study search.

When choosing a postgraduate qualification in medical education, you might also want to consider:

  • the modules offered by the course
  • location/travel time
  • whether face-to-face, blended or distance learning
  • the assessment requirements

You can usually start with a postgraduate certificate and decide from there if you want to continue to study for a diploma or masters. Most universities recognise credits gained in another institution should you need to move. You can view courses in medical education at:


Course accreditation

It might be important for you to consider that a course has accreditation by Advance HE so that you will be eligible at the end of the course to apply for a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

For example, the University of Nottingham’s postgraduate certificate in medical education is accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

You may also wish to consider whether a course has accreditation with the Academy of Medical Educators which exists to promote standards in the practice of medical education.  


How can further study in medical education help my career? Includes two videos

It can help you to develop skills in teaching and learning, assessment, feedback, curriculum design and delivery to name but a few. It’s said there is something for everyone in medical education, so it can be a great opportunity to play to your passions and strengths.

It can be a useful addition to your CV, especially if you go on to develop your interests and skills further. Many people involved in medical education may go on to pursue teaching fellow roles and progress their careers to leading and managing the delivery of medical education in universities and professional institutions. A formal qualification is increasingly required for promotion to education leadership roles within Universities and the healthcare professions.

Opportunities opened up for me

Adrian Blundell, Consultant Geriatrician and Director of Postgraduate Medical Education at the University, talks about:

  • his roles around the leadership and management aspects of medical education
  • developing your portfolio and CV 

Getting a professional qualification

Daniel Kent, Post F2 Medical Education Fellow, talks about:

  • why he wanted to gain a professional qualification in medical education
  • how he sees his future developing in this area of work


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