- How will I benefit from the Diploma?
- I am worried that I haven't done any dermatology
- Do I have to be a GP (General Practitioner) or be working in primary care to apply?
- Will I have time to study for the Diploma?
- I haven't sat an exam for years – how will I cope?
- Will possession of the Diploma enable me to practice as a GPwSI?
- I want to study on the International Programme, but I am concerned that I will feel isolated or unsupported
- I want to study the International Diploma but I feel nervous about the group tutorials
- How good do my IT skills need to be?
- Where do most of the students on the International Programme live?
20-30% of Primary Care consultations are concerned with dermatological problems, and yet the undergraduate medical curriculum has historically devoted a relatively scanty amount of time to learning the necessary skills required to diagnose and manage skin disease. As a result, many practitioners feel inadequately prepared to deal with dermatological problems in primary care.
Having completed the Diploma, our students report that they feel significantly more confident in the diagnosis and management of skin conditions and feel that they are able to give better care to their patients. Most report that they had no idea of the breadth and interest which the subject encompasses.
‘I found the course interesting and it has definitely improved my knowledge in Dermatology. It is hard work but definitely worth the effort! All the staff involved are enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable.’ Dr Buong Chen, GP
This is exactly why you will benefit from the course and why we are here - to bridge the gaps in your knowledge and experience. Should you enrol on the course, we will guide you through the first principles in diagnosing and managing skin disease, so you need have no concerns if you do not have any prior experience. Conversely, if you have a fair amount of experience already, this course is also for you – it will help consolidate and supplement your pre-existing knowledge, and will enable you via the Clinical Days or Tutorials to have regular contact with Dermatologists who can answer queries and help you develop your dermatological skills.
No! Whilst most of our students are practising GPs, we have had pathologists, paediatricians, ENT surgeons, venereologists, accident and emergency practitioners all enjoying and completing the Diploma. Some of our students are not in active clinical practice at the time of studying. This is not in any way a problem; in fact these students usually welcome the opportunity to study and have contact with patients and other colleagues at the Clinical Days (UK students) or via the internet and with interactive sessions (International students).
We normally advise that our students spend approximately 10 hours per week on course work for the Diploma. One great advantage of online learning is that it can fit in with your life – you do the work when it suits you.
For the UK students, clinical days need to be attended over the course of the year. The dates for these are published well in advance and most clinicians have experienced no difficulties in attending these meetings. For the international students, times for tutorials and online interactive meetings are published with good notice. There are six live online tutorials, each of which is repeated four times on different days of the week and different times of the day. This allows all students to find a time that is convenient to them. International students generally find this one of the best features of this programme.
For many of our students, Final MB was their last exam – in some cases many years ago! In reality, however, by the time the final examination comes, our students are ready and prepared to sit the two written question papers. There are no frightening oral or OSCE-type assessments, and students usually end up enjoying the exam as a chance to demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge. It is not aimed at causing stress and worry – it is merely a method of assessing knowledge and competence.
GPs who wish to practise as a GP with a Special Interest (GPwSI) in the UK are recommended to have completed a Diploma in Dermatology as part of the requirements to practise, but possession of the Diploma alone does not act as a qualification to enable an individual to practise in this capacity. For further guidelines regarding this issue, see: http://www.pcds.org.uk/gpwsi
I want to study on the International Programme, but I am concerned that I will feel isolated or unsupported
We are passionate about providing support in your study. Dr Hubbard, Course Director for the International Programme has a special interest in communication at a distance. She studied a Masters degree in Medical Education as a distance-learning student and her thesis investigated how to optimise communication methods for students learning online. We have hence tailored this course to make it as interactive as possible.
We offer regular interactive tutorials, with a course tutor and fellow students. There are interactive lectures – so it is just like being in a classroom. We utilise the latest technology to allow you to see and hear each other in real-time.
Comments from past International Programme students about the tutorials:
‘It was tailor-made to what I needed’
‘You get the full attention of the tutor. We discussed the case step by step and it is good to get asked questions according to your previous answers’
‘I got to know my fellow classmates and I felt more comfortable about my dermatology’
The atmosphere in the group tutorials is fun, relaxed and a non threatening environment for learning. Most students actively participate in the discussions but those who are perhaps more reticent in joining the discussion can still learn a great deal by observation without actually feeling the need actively to participate. You can rest assured however that by the third term you will be keen to take an active part in the discussions!
Basic! Internet connection is essential. Broadband internet is advised for the International Programme. The interactive tutorials and lectures for the International Programme just require you to click on a direct link.
Our students are worldwide. We have students in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, China, Kuwait, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United States of America, West Indies, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Malta, Canada and Chile as well as countries throughout Europe.