Context: Shortage of physicians in the UK has been a long-standing issue. Graduate entry medicine (GEM) may offer a second point of entry for potential doctors. However, the challenges of developing and implementing these programmes are still unrecognised. This small-scale study aimed to briefly explore the opportunities and challenges facing students at two UK GEM programmes.
Methods: Two case studies were conducted at Imperial College and Scotland's GEM (ScotGEM) and used a triangulated qualitative approach via semi-structured and elite interviews. Data analysis, informed by grounded theory, applied thematic and force-field analysis in an empirical approach to generate evidence and instrumental interpretations for Higher Education Institutions.
Results: Although GEM forms an opportunity for graduates to enter medicine, the different drivers of each programme were key in determining entry requirements and challenges experienced by postgraduates. Three key dilemmas seem to influence the experiences of learners in GEM programmes: (a) postgraduate identity and the everchanging sense-of-self; (b)self-directed and self-regulated learning skills, and (c) servicescape, management and marketing concepts.
Conclusions: Graduate entry programmes may support policy makers and faculty to fill the workforce gap of healthcare professionals. However, their successful implementation requires careful considerations to the needs of graduates to harness their creativity, resilience and professional development as future healthcare workers.
Keywords: GEM; Graduate entry; SDL; Sense-of-self; Servicescape.