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“I’m a medic”: a web-based, social capital approach to health careers

Garrud, Paul; Hughes, Gwen; Greaves, Sarah; McCracken, Shane; Doyle, Josh

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Paul Garrud

Associate Professor

Sarah Greaves

Shane McCracken

Josh Doyle


Widening access to medicine in U.K. requires outreach that engages schools in remote areas, schools with below average attainment, and schools serving disadvantaged communities in order to develop a more representative profession and meet serious workforce shortages. The approach reported here embodies ideas about how to develop social and educational capital by facilitating live web chats between school children (13-17 years) and teams of health practitioners. “I’m a Medic” comprised three 2-week events over a 10-month period with circa 900 school students and 22 health professionals from general (family) practices participating. A high proportion (78%) of the students was actively engaged in live chats, asking questions, and voting for the most valuable health practitioner. Questions covered education and training, the nature of the practitioners' work, political and ethical aspects of healthcare, and a variety of scientific and personal aspects. Evaluation showed a positive increase in career interest and aspiration for science, healthcare and medicine. Teachers would all recommend “I’m a Medic” to colleagues and all bar one would take part again. They reported it was effective in engaging students, improving their confidence in asking questions, and their awareness of general practice and the NHS. Practitioners reported improvements in their understanding of how school students view healthcare professions, their interest in public engagement, and their confidence in communicating their work. Logistic challenges included conflict between scheduled web chats in normal school time and practitioners' clinical commitments. Nevertheless, the project demonstrated effective engagement across geographic and social/educational barriers, and can provide a valuable mode of outreach, particularly about careers in healthcare.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 11, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 11, 2018
Publication Date Dec 11, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 18, 2018
Journal MedEdPublish
Print ISSN 2312-7996
Publisher Association for Medical Education in Europe
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 4
Public URL
Publisher URL


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