Vishnubala D, Iqbal A, Marino KR, et al. Creating a Sport and Exercise Medicine Masters syllabus for doctors: a Delphi study. 


The full article can be found here


Tell us more about yourself and the author team.

My names Dane Vishnubala, I am a consultant physician in Sport and Exercise Medicine, working in Yorkshire in the UK for the Ministry of Defence and for YSM Clinic. I am interested in medical education and work academically at Hull York Medical School. I also co-lead the University of Leeds MSc in Sport and Exercise Medicine and PG Cert in Musculoskeletal Medicine.

I was supported with this Delphi by a fantastic team of contributors from several universities. Dr Adil Iqbal is an MSc student at the University of Leeds and an early career doctor. Dr Katherine Marino is an academic GP registrar, a board member at the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) and an associate editor at the BJSM. Dr David Salman is an Academic GP with an SEM interest based at Imperial. Professor Andy Pringle is a Professor of Physical Activity at the University of Derby. Dr Camilla Nykjaer is the academic lead for the MSc in SEM at the University of Leeds. Professor Peter Bazira is a Professor at the Hull York Medical School, leading the school’s anatomy education. Finally, Professor Gabrielle Finn is a professor at the University of Manchester and a Vice-Dean with a strong research background in medical education.  So definitely a collaborative effort!


What is the story behind your study?

When I proposed and wrote our initial MSc in Sport and Exercise Medicine for the University of Leeds, I was exploring whether there was any consensus around what that MSc should contain given many professional roles in SEM have MSc on the essential or desirable criteria. Therefore, I was keen to develop a syllabus by consensus with expert input that would inform my own course and provide a framework or guidance for other academics delivering an MSc in SEM who may review their courses.


In your own words, what did you find?

As with all things qualitative, the process is sometimes as interesting if not more interesting than the outcomes. Our research group created a draft curriculum that was sent to a newly created expert panel of 45 experts who reviewed two rounds of the curriculum. Comments from the reviewers highlighted the importance of the level and pitch of the MSc. Skills such as ultrasound and joint injections, potentially fundamental skills in musculoskeletal medicine, were deemed inappropriate for an MSc curriculum. This perhaps highlights the MDT nature of the students on an MSc course and the variety of vocational experiences at this point. We created a syllabus with 133 learning outcomes divided into 11 subthemes. In the UK, there is no SEM undergraduate curriculum consensus, so this has also been carried out, and we hope to publish and disseminate this soon.


What was the main challenge you faced in your study?

Managing an expert panel of 45 people who are busy and volunteering to support research can be challenging. We planned in several automated emails and, where required, texts to remind the panel and prompt those perhaps with high workloads and little time to complete the rounds of review. This strategy led to a 100% response rate for round 1 and a 78% response rate for phase 2. We are extremely grateful to all those who took part, as it is time-consuming to do so.


If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?

An MSc in SEM, in my opinion, is a vocational postgraduate degree. Therefore, an emphasis should be placed on vocational knowledge and skills, which based on our results, is an opinion likely shared by many of our expert panel. Given a lack of current consensus among current programmes, prospective students should delve deeper into the curriculum to understand how the MSc will meet their aims and potentially support their career aspirations.

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