Personal Tutoring Programme of Undergraduate Medical Students
Based on the recommendation of an international evaluation of medical undergraduate education (1996), the Medical Faculty of the University of Turku decided to establish a system of structured personal tutoring for all undergraduate medical and dental students. This comprehensive tutoring system is a novel programme among medical students in Finland and has been running since 2003. After piloting, the structured personal tutor system has been operating in the Faculty since 2005. A Planning and Development Group, including representatives of faculty administration, preclinical and clinical teachers, coordinators of medical and dental teaching and students, originally planned and is continuously following and developing the system. The group has defined the aims of the personal tutoring programme and develops the content and execution of the programme.
Aims of the Personal Tutoring Programme
- Support of personal growth of the students
- Learning support
- Support of professional development of the students
- Regular feedback to students
A personal tutor, who is a senior faculty member, such as a professor, senior lecturer or coordinator, is named for each student at the beginning of the studies. The tutors have a pastoral role in facilitating the students to learn, check their personal study plans (PSP) and portfolio, and identifying personal problems, as well as supporting the development of the professional identity of a medical doctor. A tutorial group consists of 8-10 students. Group meetings are held according to the schedule plan, and students receive also personal tuition once a year for updating of the PSP and portfolio and discussions of professional issues. In addition the students are encouraged to contact their personal tutor when needed. Tutoring is carried out through the 6 years’ medical curriculum. Presently, there are 82 tutors in the Faculty.
The Medical Education R & D Centre organises seminars, courses and meetings to support the function of the tutors. A special Tutorial Guide Book is published by the Centre. All Tutors are encouraged to participate in the pedagogical courses of the Faculty.
Support for the Tutors
- Introduction Course for the new tutors
- Two half-day seminars yearly for all tutors
- Tutorial Guide Book
- Regular meetings of the tutors
- Tailored educational meetings
Plan for Personal Tutoring
The Personal Tutoring Programme is closely monitored by the Planning and Development Group, which has meetings 2-3 times a semester. Every spring a feedback survey is carried out, that consists of questions to tutors and students about the programme and varying themes.