MED5101: Applied studies in medical research and professional practice
(AKA “Scholarly intensive placement: SIP”)
MED5101: Applied studies in medical research and professional practice, forms an integral part of the new Monash University MD degree. In Year 5/D, students will spend 6 weeks full-time in MED5101, working on a scholarly activity gaining in-depth knowledge in a particular area relevant to medicine. Because the focus of MED5101 is on a Scholarly activity, many people have been referring to it as the “Scholarly Intensive Placement (SIP)”. In this website we will use MED5101 and “SIP” interchangeably.
MED5101 Learning objectives
- Utilise specialist knowledge and skills to justify the need for a research, teaching or professional practice issue to be investigated or evaluated.
- Devise and implement a plan for the placement and identify key outputs
- Review, synthesise and critically appraise clinical and scientific literature in a specific area of medical science, education or professional practice
- Practice, and demonstrate an understanding of, academic integrity, research integrity and ethical behaviour in the context of medical science and/or delivery of care
- Collect and categorise information related to a key question relevant to the community and to medicine
- Analyse and summarise information related to a key question relevant to the community and to medicine
- Justify approaches to solve a complex problem relevant to their placement
- Communicate critical concepts and findings to a professional audience in oral and written formats
What Types of Placements will be Available for MED5101?
The MD degree at Monash is a “Masters Extended” degree. The advantage of the Masters extended degree, is that you have a wide variety of the types of placements that you can become involved in. The common element in all placements, is a focus on scholarly work (ie reading, analyzing and interpreting the literature and writing a report) about a particular area relevant to medicine.
The Scholarly work that can be undertaken during the SIP will be very broad and may include research, education or professional practice placements. For example, placements may require the collection or analysis of clinical research data, a quality, safety or patient satisfaction audit, designing patient information material or generating or assessing clinical education tools. In most cases you will make a small contribution to a much larger project, but in some cases, projects will be fully contained within the 6-week period.
Here is an image with an overview of the types of SIPs that might be available at your School (note that SIP topics are not limited to those shown in this image).
Here are a couple of terrific examples from our 2020 SIP students:
- Anaesthetics audit gives student experience in pain medicine
- Student helps develop palliative care tools
- Rethinking pandemic preparation and pivoting the Monash MD
- Medical teaching innovation yields results for infants at risk of cerebral palsy
- Migraines causing pain for the economy
- Medical student relay delivers a new Cochrane review
There will be many opportunities to contribute to a research project in the SIPs, but it is important to remember that 6-weeks is a very short time in relation to most research projects.
Medical students who are aiming to be a clinician-researcher, should undertake the BMedSc(Hons) degree, which will give you a full academic year of formal research training under the supervision of an experienced supervisor BMedSc(Hons) will also qualify you for a post-graduate research degree, either as part of an intercalated, accelerated research pathway (the MD-PhD Pathway ), or as a stand-alone PhD later in your career.
Where can I do my SIP?
SIP placements are available at the Schools and Departments listed below:
Click on each School to find out more about what each School/Dept has to offer for SIPs.
Note that actual SIP topics will not be available until much closer to the start of your SIP rotation.
- Central Clinical School
- Department of General Practice
- Eastern Health Clinical School
- Monash Rural Health - Flyer
- School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health - Flyer
- School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine - Flyer
You will be able to submit preferences for the School where you would like to do your SIP, using the same system, and at the same time, as you submit preferences for your other year 5/D rotations. Click here for more information about submitting preferences.
When and how do I choose a SIP topic?
The types of placements available at each School are available via the links above. Once you have been informed of the School where you will be undertaking your SIP, actual SIP titles and descriptions at your School, will become available before the start of your SIP rotation (2-6 weeks beforehand). Each SIP topic will have at least one supervisor who you will have formal meetings with at the beginning, mid-point and end of your 6-week SIP rotation (as a minimum). Once you know your SIP topic you should email your supervisor to arrange a meeting with them sometime during the first week of your SIP rotation (as early in week 1 as possible).
MED5101 Assessment Overview
Completion of your SIP placement and assessment items will provide you with experiences and skills in relation to audits, educational tool development, or research, that you would not have been formally exposed to in the MBBS(Hons) degree. Most importantly it is an opportunity to learn about a particular medical issue in depth by spending an entire 6-weeks focusing on a single medical issue. Continual learning is a critical component of maintaining up-to-date medical knowledge and this unit will enable you to search out the most up-to-date evidence about your topic, and prepare you with life-time learning skills critical for evidence-based practice.
Assessment of MED5101 is comprised of:
- Compulsory Online Modules (10%)
- Student-Supervisor Output Agreement (0%, Hurdle)
- Scholarly Report (60%, Hurdle, up to 4000 words)
- Executive Summary (30%, Oral and Written)
Several compulsory online modules will help prepare you for your MED5101 rotation. These modules will be available within the MED5101 Moodle site and should be completed within the first week of your SIP rotation. These modules are worth 10% of your MED5101 grade. There will also be some non-compulsory online modules that will help particular types of SIP activities.
The student-supervisor output agreement is a ‘learning contract’ to ensure you have clear understanding of the background to the topic, the objectives to complete during your 6-week MED5101 Placement, any data that must be returned to your Supervisor and the information that must be included in your MED5101 Scholarly Report.
The Scholarly Report is a written report describing, interpreting and analysing your SIP topic in relation to the published literature in the field. The exact components of the report will vary with the topic and your supervisor will guide you on the information that should be included in the report. The report should be clear and concise and a maximum of 4000 words in length. If the placement includes collecting and summarizing data (eg audits or research topics) or creating or evaluating (eg educational tools), then that summarized information will reduce the overall word length required in the Scholarly Report.
The Executive Summaries are very concise overviews of the SIP topic and activities you have undertaken during MED5101.
1. A brief oral presentation to either your School, Department, Clinical Unit, Research Group or Supervisor. This oral presentation is worth 15% of your overall Unit Grade.
2. A brief written report (Maximum 250 words), akin to a journal or conference abstract. The written Executive summary is worth 15% of your overall Unit Grade.
We hope that you now have a much clearer overview of what will be required during the MED5101 Unit. If you have any questions, please refer to the list of Frequently Asked Questions available below.
Also refer to the MED5101 Handbook Entry.
Frequently Asked Questions about the SIP
You will be able to submit a preference for the School (and in some cases the site (eg Rural & Malaysian sites) where you would like to do your SIP, at the same time and in just the same way that you submit your preferences for other Year 5/D rotations.
Refer to School Flyers and/or websites above, to see the sites and types of SIP topics that are likely to be available at each School. It won’t be possible to know exactly what topics are available in each rotation at each School by the Yr 5/D preference deadline, but you will get an overview of the types of topics that will be available and which sites within each School will be offering SIP topics.
3.1. If you have undertaken formal research within the medical curriculum (ie BMedSc(Hons), MD-PhD or MD-MPH), you will be able to return to your Main Monash Supervisor for the SIP with the express aim of either:
a) writing up the publication arising from your research,
b) continuing that research towards a publication, or
c) working on a new research project.
Note that MD-MPH students MUST return to SPHPM for their SIP.
There will be a separate tick box within the “In Place” preference submission system, for BMedSc(Hons) & MD-PhD students to select whether they would like to be allocated back to the School where they did their BMedSc(Hons)/PhD. If you select “yes”, you will be allocated back to that School for your SIP. If you select “no” you will be treated like all other medical students submitting preferences for a School. If the Main Monash Supervisor for your BMedSc(Hons) was not affiliated with one of the Schools listed above, please speak to the Director of Medical Student Research for advice.
3.2. If you have undertaken research outside of the formal medical curriculum, we recommend you preference the School where you undertook that research.
3.2.1. If your SIP allocation is to the School where you did your extra-curricular research, you can then discuss with the School SIP Coordinator whether it will be possible for you to return to your supervisor for the SIP. Note that this may not always be possible.
3.2.2.If you are not allocated to the School where you did your extra-curricular research, you can try to arrange a one-on-one swap with another student, in exactly the same way that it is managed for all other Year 5/D rotations (NB. Only one swap is allowed in Year 5/D).
In most cases students will be given a list of the topics/supervisors available at each School several weeks before the SIP rotation commences. In most cases there will be more topics/places available than students, so there should be some degree of choice. After the release of topics for your rotation, depending on the School, there will either be:
a)An option to submit preferences for topics
b)A first-in, best-dressed, option
c)Or students will be allocated to topics.
Refer to the Flyers from each School to determine what mechanism will be used.
In most cases students will be given a list of the topics/supervisors available at each School, several weeks before the SIP rotation commences. In most cases there will be more topics/places available than students, so there should be some degree of choice. After the release of topics for your rotation, depending on the School, there will either be:
a) An option to submit preferences for topics, or
b) A first-in, best-dressed, option
c) Or students will be allocated to topics.
Refer to the Flyers from each School to determine what mechanism will be used.
The Scholarly Placement Report must be submitted during the final week of the rotation. Therefore, students must have completed all required work during the 6-week rotation. In many cases, particularly for research projects, students will be contributing to a small portion of a much-larger project, so it may be possible to continue some work with the supervisor after the MED5101 placement. However, it is our preference that this does not occur because that will likely prevent the supervisor from taking on other SIP students, limiting topic choices in remaining rotations. If a student does undertake work with their SIP supervisor before or after their MED5101 placement, that work must not interfere with the requirements for the other MD rotations.
In general, this will not be allowed. However, there may be special exceptions that will be considered on a one-by-one basis. For example if the BMedSc(Hons) or MD-PhD topic involved a non-Monash site or overseas component, or if an off-site SIP would make a natural extension of the BMedSc(Hons) or MD-PhD project and the Main Monash supervisor will support the student for that project, then it may be allowed. In all cases, the Monash Supervisor will be responsible for the student. Such requests will need to be approved by:
a) the SIP Coordinator at the School where you have been allocated for your SIP,
b) the SIP Unit Coordinator
In general no, unless there are special circumstances as outlined above.
Yes, if the supervisor is willing to take on more than one student at a time, then several students can be involved in the same project. However, all assessment items must be completed independently and will be assessed independently.
In most cases research projects are much longer than 6-weeks (often one or more years long). As such, students undertaking a research SIP are likely to be making a small contribution to a much larger research project. That could be: writing a literature review, helping to develop the experimental design, writing an ethics application, designing tools for the project (eg questionnaire), recruiting patients, collecting data, analysing data etc.
Medical students who are aiming to be a clinician-researcher, should consider the BMedSc(Hons) degree, which will give you a full academic year of formal research training under the supervision of an experienced supervisor BMedSc(Hons) will also qualify you for a post-graduate research degree, either as part of an intercalated, accelerated research pathway (the MD-PhD Pathway ), or as a stand-alone PhD later in your career.
Professional practice SIPs are focussed on matters specific to safety, quality and delivery of care. They could involve a safety, quality or patient satisfaction audit, developing clinical guidelines or governance documents, cost-time analyses, etc. These are matters critical to effective provision of care. In Australia, one in 12 hospital patients experiences a medical error. Not all errors result in patient harm but some do result in serious harm and occasionally result in patient death. It is critical therefore to constantly assess quality and safety of care via audits. In recognition of the importance of outcome measurements of care, the Medical Board of Australia have proposed that a major portion of Continuing Professional Development Points (CPD points) should be obtained from audit activities. Learning these skills during your SIP will place you well for undertaking these activities when you are a registered medical practitioner.
Professional practice SIPs could also potentially involve a literature review specifically focussing on a single common disease, or important aspect of care relevant to that ward/clinic, accompanied by some dedicated time spent on the ward/clinic specifically observing patients with that eg disease and how they are managed, treated etc. Time in the clinic/ward should be no more than 30% of the total time spent on the SIP to ensure there is sufficient time for the student to research the literature and write up their Scholarly Report.
Education SIPs are aimed at developing and/or evaluating educational material for: patients, the general public, students or other health practitioners. That material could include: patient information sheet(s), website material, one or more YouTube clips, Podcast(s), infographics, an iSAP Case Study or new OSCE’s or PBLs etc. You would need to identify what is already available for the target audience and justify the need for your proposed new material. You will also need to story-book, develop and refine the material. If there is time, trial and evaluate the material and discuss the potential uses and outcomes of the new material.
It is important to note that Journal Articles have very strict criteria on the level of contribution that is required to justify authorship and it usually requires involvement from conception of the idea, to performing, analysing and interpreting the research, as well as writing & editing the publication. If you made a very substantial contribution to the overall project, you may be listed as one of the authors. However, we do not anticipate that many publications will arise from a 6-week contribution to a research project, although we would expect your contributions to be noted in the acknowledgements section of a publication that does arise. Publications may also arise from Education projects and from Quality, Safety and Patient Satisfaction audits. Importantly, if an audit is to be published, the Chief Investigator would normally need to have obtained full ethics approval prior to the audit commencing (ie prior to the MED5101 placement commencement, unless the aim of the SIP is to write the ethics application).
YES! If you really want to learn about research, you should definitely do BMedSc(Hons). BMedSc(Hons) is also now the only way that you can obtain Honours in medicine.
The SIP is only 6 weeks long, which is a very short time-frame in the life of most research projects and although there will be a lot of research SIPs, there won’t be enough for everyone to get into a research SIP. In contrast, BMedSc(Hons) gives you a full academic year of research experience under the guidance of an experienced research supervisor. The BMedSc(Hons) degree improves your critical thinking skills enormously and will give you intensive training in research skills and a much greater chance of obtaining a first-author publication. BMedSc(Hons) will also qualify you for PhD entry whereas the MD will not qualify you for entry into a PhD. BMedSc(Hons) is a challenging year but it is also a fun year. Importantly, it will also differentiate yourself from the rest of the students with an MD degree. If you are interested in BMedSc(Hons), please refer to the following website:
If I did Honours before starting my medical degree (eg BBiomedSc(Hons) or BSc(Hons) , can I go back to my Honours supervisor like the BMedSc(Hons) students do?
No. This provision is only available to students who have completed BMedSc(Hons). If your previous Honours research degree was with a supervisor in one of the Monash MNHS Schools who are hosting SIP students, we recommend you preference that School and there may be a chance, that you are able to return to your previous Honours supervisor.