Medical students from Galway and Limerick colleges to train at Portiuncula

A number of medical students from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick will carry out a large component of their training at Portiuncula Hospital as part of the setting up of a joint medical academy at the Ballinasloe facility.

The NUI Galway/University of Limerick Medical Academy will bring the expertise of two of Ireland’s medical schools together through shared teaching and facilities.

This allows for greater efficiencies in maintenance of infrastructure and recruitment of academic and administrative staff. It also allows students of undergraduate medical training and graduate entry programmes to learn from one another.

Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe has been chosen as a step-out clinical site for the education of medical students from the Galway and Limerick colleges. From this month 22 medical students from both institutions will carry out a large component of their training at the hospital.

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Fidelma Dunne, the head of the medical school at NUI Galway, said placements in clinical practice are the cornerstone of medical education.

“This will be delivered to a high standard through the rotation of students through a central university teaching hospital and the selection of regional academies. It is anticipated that a proportion of students in regional academies will become the junior and senior medical staff for these hospitals in the future. The opening of this medical teaching academy in Ballinasloe sees the completion of the network of regional medical academies representing partnerships between NUI Galway and HSE West and more recently Galway Roscommon University Hospital Trust.”

She went on to say that recent investments in staffing and new infrastructure in NUI Galway, including three new buildings for medical research, as well as groundbreaking developments in research activities, have positioned the medical school as one of the top schools in the country.

“We are delighted to offer this unique approach to medical education with University of Limerick to our students.”

Professor Michael Larvin, the head of the Graduate Entry Medical School at the University of Limerick, welcomed the announcement, saying UL is delighted to see another example of collaboration between the two universities with the creation of this joint medical academy at Portiuncula Hospital.

“This collaboration gives both universities an excellent opportunity to compare the complementary medical education learning experiences of undergraduate and graduate entry medical students. Our expectation is that their co-existence will lead to great synergy. The hospital currently hosts UL medical students in medicine, surgery and paediatrics and they have been wonderfully supported by the hospital staff. The GEMS student evaluations of their experience at Portiuncula Hospital have been consistently excellent and we are excited to see the arrival of NUI Galway medical students. It will be a wonderful opportunity for both staff and students to learn from each other.”

Dr Maeve Durkan, the dean of the NUI Galway/University of Limerick Medical Academy, said it was delighted to celebrate the merging of the two academies - NUI Galway School of Medicine and University of Limerick, Graduate Entry Medical School .

“This represents the first such venture in the country. Portiuncula Hospital is very pleased at this resounding endorsement by two of our leading medical schools which reiterates the esteem in which both our clinical and teaching disciplines are held. Portiuncula is committed to consistent high quality care of our patients and this development reiterates that. Equally, we recognise the absolute importance of medical education.

“I am personally proud of the dedication of our module leaders who are instrumental in the delivery of both high quality care and education. In the last three years, the highest achieving graduates in the UL GEMS programme have all trained at Portiuncula Hospital, that alone speaks for our talents and dedication. This collaboration is a new departure in the merging of both an undergraduate and postgraduate programme, which will be challenging and instructive but a challenge that we will embrace.”

Established in 2010 the NUI Galway - UL Strategic Alliance is an institution-wide partnership which covers all of the key areas of activity including teaching, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services.

The opening of the medical teaching academy in Ballinasloe sees the completion of the network of regional medical academies representing partnerships between NUI Galway and the HSE West and more recently Galway Roscommon University Hospital Trust.

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