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Workshop Abstracts

Developing a skilled workforce through integrating service learning into medical education


Meg Wright

University Of St Andrews, GB
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We will share our experience of bringing together voluntary sector organisations, clinicians and academics to create a meaningful learning experience for student doctors. We will then work with participants to explore the strategic and operational implications of these workforce innovations.


The drive to more integrated health care models and social prescribing means that closer links with communities is central to the success of the new ways of working and ultimately the health and well-being of the population. There is increased interest in partnership working with the wider community in medical education. Responding to this changing environment, ScotGEM is an innovative new graduate-entry medical degree delivered by a partnership of Universities and Health Boards in Scotland.

One aspect of this new degree is a voluntary sector placement for all students in their first year of study. 45 local organisations provide students with the experience of working in a community setting alongside professionals from a variety of disciplines.

Bringing medical students and community services together creates mutual benefit; accessing untapped assets and improving well-being of individuals. There is a growing body of international literature, however the nature of the educational interventions are variable: from students giving one-off educational sessions in schools to year-long immersive activities. Our work is in early days but we are learning from our communities, GPs and students to make continual improvements.

Aims and Objectives

We will share our experience as a starter for discussions about laying the foundations for a truly integrated future workforce.

We will explore the short, medium and long-term benefits of including meaningful community engagement (also known as civil society, voluntary sector, third-sector) in professional training from three perspectives:

•              Community Partners,

•              Students

•              Workforce developers (eg universities, professional regulators, health planners)

Target audience

Delegates who support pre-registration professional development, an interest in primary care and community engaged medical education, and those with an interest in examples of meaningful partnership between voluntary, higher education and public service sectors.

Learnings/Take away

Participating in this workshop will

-              enable you to strengthen the strategic case for including community engagement in professional development

-              take away practical hints and tips on how you could do this ‘at home’

-              build and grow new international networks in support of a future workforce for whom integrated working is the norm.


Heather and Meg will share our story giving the background and experience to date (15 minutes).

Two parallel group discussions focused upon benefits for Communities and for Students; each facilitated by Meg or Heather. (20 minutes + 5 minutes feedback from each conversation = 30 minutes)

Two parallel group discussions from workforce planner perspective: Strengths and Challenges; Opportunities and Threats (20 min + 5 feedback = 30 minutes).

Bringing it together. Heather & Meg bring together key discussions and take-aways (15 minutes).

We will use structured facilitation techniques and templates - informed by room layout and likely attendee numbers - to maximise the quality of discussion and effective synthesis.

Total 90 minutes


How to Cite: Wright M. Developing a skilled workforce through integrating service learning into medical education. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2021;21(S1):375. DOI:
Published on 01 Sep 2021.
Peer Reviewed


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