Sour medicine at King’s

In a recent survey conducted by the website Unistats.com it was revealed that student satisfaction amongst the medical students at King’s was markedly lower than for other courses at the College. The news comes as King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) was ranked as the best student union in London, scoring a 73% approval rate. However the 58% satisfaction rate from medical students at King’s is set to overshadow what should be a time of celebration for the institution.

The website ranked satisfaction based on questionnaires that current students filled in and sent back. It asked questions about how satisfied students were with things such as; access to IT resources, the quality of library resources and services, the quality of advice, the quality of staff and if the staff made the course interesting.

Despite scoring good results on the above, the Medicine course suffered heavily on questions based on feedback of work and whether it was prompt and helped clarify points. For ‘feedback helping clarifying points that students had misunderstood’ the satisfaction rating was just 13% while for whether feedback was prompt, it was even lower, at a miserable 9%. Compare this with the 94% satisfaction rating medical students gave in response to the quality of IT and library services.

It is clear where the problem lies, in the feedback that students receive on their work. Medicine is generally seen as one of the main degrees at King’s due to the access to quality teaching hospitals. It is one of the most oversubscribed medical degrees in the country but the low satisfaction rating may turn some potential students off.

If we compare Medicine with other courses the difference is quite dramatic. English Language & Literature received 83%, Physics 82%, French 93%, War Studies 91%, History 93%, Mathematics 83%, Biomedical 89%. Medicine is clearly doing something wrong!

However, we all know how difficult Medicine degrees are and the sheer amount of work medics have to do to keep up with the course. Roar! toured Guy’s campus and listened to the opinions of some of the medics there.

One student informed us that ‘The degree is hard, work comes thick and fast and you simply don’t have the time to follow up on points or to redo work. I assume it is exactly the same for the staff who also work extremely hard to prepare us for the world of medicine.’

Another student suggested ‘I understand that the course is hard but we knew that when we signed up. I just feel it’s made even more difficult because it’s hard to get feedback on work.’

Another stated, ‘I don’t mind the lack of feedback, it encourages us to become self-reliant, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to sit in the library with some course mates and try and solve the issues.

Finally, one student said, ‘We have email addresses and tutors, I’ve never struggled with getting feedback.’

In the end it comes down to a simple fact; that the Medical Department need to look at how they handle the course and how they respond to students’ worries. They need to scrutinise the relationship with student and tutor and make it more accessible and also ensure that students don’t fall into the mire.

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