The NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre held its one-day conference in Birmingham on March 8th. The programme was chaired for the day by Prof Gifford Batstone, and speakers included Prof Ron Harden (Director of Education at the International Virtual Medical School, IVIMEDS) and Prof Sir Kenneth Calman. A Participants’ Forum held over lunch provided an opportunity for individual organisations to share resources and initiatives to support genetics education.
Prof Harden gave an excellent and witty presentation on the value of competences in outcome-based education, and the shift from process to outcome in medical education. He described a ‘3 circle’ model based on: 1. Doing the right thing 2. Doing the thing right 3. The right person doing it. Prof Harden also outlined the advantages of outcome-based education in relation to information overload, the changing aims of education (for example the emphasis on communication, ethics and attitudes) and accountability.
The talk by Prof Sir Kenneth Calman on storytelling and its effectiveness in education was also excellent – both speakers use cartoons to great effect! He outlined how stories provide a framework for dealing with major life events, have a therapeutic effect, assist with communication, involving the storyteller and the listener and helping to bring generations in doing so.
The GPU had a presence at the Participants’ Forum, providing information on our Storytelling project, and on our genetics courses. We also used one of our stories to lead a facilitated discussion session to demonstrate how stories can be incorporated into teaching. This was very well evaluated. ‘Tony’s story’ was chosen (in an abridged form) because it could be used to help demonstrate every one of the seven competency statements for nurses and midwives, providing a typical example of the challenges and issues that people with a genetic condition have to face in seeking and obtaining health care.