MDSA30300 Clinical Skills

Academic Year 2023/2024

This course introduces students to the process of information gathering, physical examination and communication with patients. Using a combination of student role-play, video recording, standardized patients (actors) and actual patients, students will learn the skills of history taking, communication and physical exam. The course is predominantly practical in nature and the emphasis is on development of core skills. It is supported by a lecture programme which serves to orientate students to the learning tasks and to complement the skills elements of the course with an introduction to other key elements of clinical practice. These include manual handling, occupational health, hygiene and risk management, professionalism, management of acute and chronic illness and lifelong learning. The module provides students with an opportunity to learn clinical practice in a range of clinical sites – hospitals and general practices from UCD’s Primary Care Teaching Network.

Mandatory minimum attendance of 80% in order to pass module.

Professionalism is integral to and will be assessed throughout the module. Any behaviour which is considered to be in breach of professional behaviour as set out in the School's Statement on Fitness to Practice (in addition to the University's policy) will be formally noted. This forms part of the ‘must pass’ component of the assessment.

This course also introduces students to the background physiology, common disorders and basic clinical skills related to the specialties of reproductive medicine, paediatrics, and psychological medicine. Using a combination of student role-play, standardised patients (actors), simulator manikins, students will learn the skills of history-taking and physical examination with specific reference to primary care, childbirth and the perinatal period, early childhood and mental health.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Learning outcomes for this module include:

1. History taking (This will be more demo and practice rather than didactic)
a. Student can take a full and complete history from a patient at all life stages and in the acute and community setting
b. Students can generate a patient problem list using the biopsychosocial model
c. Students can generate a differential diagnosis for the following complaints (suggested basic core cases in Resp, Cardio, Renal, GI)

2. Physical Examination
a. Students understand the anatomical and physical principles underlying basic systems examination
b. Students have mastered the skill of full physical examination for all major systems and at all life stages.

3. Professionalism & Behaviour
a. Students understand and apply the principles of professional behaviour in their encounters with patients in Belfield and clinical sites
b. Choice, consent and confidentiality underpin all clinical encounters

4. Practical Procedures
a. Handwashing & infection control (include sign off)
b. Venepuncture/cannulation, taking blood & accidental needlestick injury
c. BP, urinalysis, BLS
d. Mini ATLS – ABC principles

5. The Consultation and Communication Skills in Practice
a. The art of communication
b. Models of communication in practice

6. Care in Medicine
a. Students develop an empathic and patient centered approach to patients

7. Biomedical science underpinning all of the above
a. Science of empathy
b. Psychology of illness, care, resilience
c. Structure of the health service and access to care
d. Medical Care as a right
e. Conservative practice / economics of medical care (this may crossover/be better placed in PCP)

There will be 10 clinical skills workshops on the topics listed below.
1. Respiratory
2. Cardiovascular
3. Cardiovascular/Endocrine
4. GI
5. GU
6. GU Procedures
7. Locomotor (reduced from all joints to back, hip and knees only)
8. Peripheral Neurology
9. Cranial Nerves
10. Procedures/Infection Control
Students will also receive refresher training in Basic Life Support

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group




Seminar (or Webinar)




Autonomous Student Learning


Placement/Work Experience




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Skills based laboratory sessions, lectures and clinical attachments. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

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
Continuous Assessment: Psychiatry - Two 10 minute online continuous assessment MCQs during two of workshops, each worth 20% of overall mark. Final 30 minute online MCQ in final workshop worth 60% of overall mark Varies over the Trimester n/a Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% No


Examination: 1 hour Reproductive & Child Health MCQ 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% No


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


Practical Examination: Clinical Assessment in hospitals which will assess History-Taking and Physical Examination skills, ability to present clinical information and generate different diagnoses. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Alternative non-linear conversion grade scale 50% Yes



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, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Avinash Bhupalan Tutor
Dr Deborah Condren Tutor
Dr Lisa Flynn Tutor
Dr Beth Gordon Tutor
Mr Martin Heduan Tutor
Dr Ellen Horgan Tutor
Dr Roisin Horgan Tutor
Dr Meabh Hyland Tutor
Dr Karl Kavanagh Tutor
Bernard Kennedy Tutor
Dr Evelyn Lynn Tutor
Dr Lucy McKenna Tutor
Dr Ashe Moore Tutor
Dr David Moynan Tutor
Dr Edward Murphy Tutor
Dr Hope Murphy O'Connor Tutor
Dr Marissa O'Callaghan Tutor
Dr Fiona O'Hannigan Tutor
Dr Amy O'Higgins Tutor
Dr Rhea O'Regan Tutor
Dr Doireann Pereira Tutor
Dr Annabelle Piquet Tutor
Dr Paul Rushe Tutor
Dr Odhran Ryan Tutor
Dr Ruth Walsh Tutor
Nicola Whelan Tutor
Dr Jehangir khan Tutor