MDCS42100 Primary Care (Orthopaedics) I

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module aims to provide a practical, clinically oriented, learning experience for GP's / doctors in other disciplines and other health professionals who wish to develop a special interest in the management of patients with musculoskeletal problems.
This module aims to enhance a student’s capacity to assess and manage musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions that commonly present in primary care and provides an introduction to skills in certain therapeutic procedures, with use of diagnostic imaging where appropriate and available.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the module, a student should be able to:

• Outline the incidence/prevalence of common musculoskeletal injuries / conditions;
• Appreciate the anatomical and functional basis of common musculoskeletal injuries / conditions;
• Competently assess patients with musculoskeletal complaints;
• Appropriately manage patients with musculoskeletal complaints;
• Recognise symptoms and signs of life threatening or impacting disease and appreciate how to respond in practice;
• For any given musculoskeletal presentation / complaint know when / how to investigate / refer / admit;
• Appreciate the role of diagnostic imaging in the management of musculoskeletal complaints ;
• Critically reflect on his / her practice.

1. Knowledge / understanding, students will acquire:
• A thorough knowledge and understanding of best practice in the assessment and treatment of common musculoskeletal complaints in a primary care setting;
• An understanding of the limits of their professional roles, responsibilities, competence, and the need to seek advice/refer when appropriate when treating patients with musculoskeletal problems.
2. Applying knowledge and understanding
• Students will learn to apply this knowledge and understanding to improve their competence and confidence in managing MSK conditions in their day to day clinical practice.
3. Making judgements
• Demonstrate a critical engagement with decision-making frameworks and processes in primary care. Students will improve their clinical assessment capabilities, clinical problem-solving capabilities and clinical decision making.
4. Communications and team-working skills
• Students will engage in effective intra and inter professional working with healthcare colleagues.
• Emphasis will also be placed on communication skills reinforcing the primary goal of the School to produce competent, caring practitioners with an ability to convey complex messages to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
5. Learning skills
• Throughout the course, students will engage in group and autonomous learning exercises, designed to reinforce an evidence-based approach to the management of musculoskeletal problems in a primary care setting.

Graduate attributes and outcomes
• Epidemiology of musculoskeletal problems in practice
• Biomedical sciences (e.g. Anatomy) and their application to the management of patients with musculoskeletal problems
• Diagnosis and assessment of musculoskeletal problems
• Treatment/ongoing management of musculoskeletal problems
• Enhanced critical thinking, analysis and problem solving
• Ability to review his / her own practice and improve patient care through clinical audit and quality improvement initiatives

Indicative Module Content:

Exemplar schedule of Topics:
• Revision of Bone and Joint Anatomy / Physiology
• Pathophysiology of Fractures and Principles of Fracture Management
• Osteoarthritis & Cartilage Repair
• Soft Tissue Injury: Ligament, Tendon, Muscle Strain
• Anatomy, clinical examination and pathophysiology of the spine/ knee/ shoulder/ elbow
• Pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of tendinopathies
• Pathophysiology of Osteoarthritis /Rheumatoid Arthritis / Inflammatory Arthritis
• Pathophysiology, diagnosis and management principles of MSK infections
• Benign and Malignant musculoskeletal tumours (Sarcoma, Myeloma)
• Self-management for MSK patients - lifestyle modifications

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Module delivery will involve:
• Webinars delivered at 19h00 alternate Wednesday’s over the semester (14 weeks).
• Seminars / practical, delivered Fridays 10h00 to 16h00, at UCD on 2-3 occasions per semester
• In the case of the elective modules, module delivery will be as per existing delivery arrangements

The series of seminars / webinars on core topics will guide students in core knowledge acquisition. Where possible, students will be encouraged to use their previous experience (practical, clinical) in learning to acquire knowledge through self-direction. Seminars will use enquiry-based methods to encourage critical thinking, analysis and problem solving. Regular case-based scenarios will encourage the integration of knowledge across modules that consider structure, function, disease and patient care.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Applicants should:
• Hold an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g. Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery, Physiotherapy, etc)
• Possess an equivalent professional qualification, or
• Have relevant clinical experience in orthopaedics, primary care, or physiotherapy.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ/SAQ 1 hour End of Trimester Exam n/a Graded No


Portfolio: Clinical Cases Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Practical Examination: Continuous assessment of clinical skills
Formative peer assessment/ Summative tutor assessment
Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Grades from online assessments will be available online. Peer feedback relating to Group projects will be given on the same day. Portfolios will be given regular feedback in person/audio/video or written formats at regular intervals.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Shane Foley Lecturer / Co-Lecturer