The University of Limerick is celebrating the graduation of 146 students today from the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) and Clinical Therapies Department. Among the graduates 94 doctors were conferred with their medical degrees as they became the fourth graduating class of the Graduate Entry Medical School at the University of Limerick. 52 Clinical Therapies graduands received their awards – 26 from the MSc in Occupational Therapy and 26 from the BSc in Physiotherapy.
Established in 2007, the Graduate Entry Medical School Programme at UL is open to graduates from any discipline and employs practical and interactive approaches to learning.
Among the doctors who graduated at UL today are students with undergraduate degrees varying from zoology, anthropology to music and archaeology. The programme is also the only medical education programme in the country founded on the modern pedagogical principles of Problem Based Learning (PBL). PBL encourages team-working and self-directed enquiry, both skills being vital for their future careers in the fast moving world of medicine.
Speaking at the conferring ceremony Professor Don Barry, UL President, paid tribute to the Health Service Executive, “The support that we have received from the employees of the HSE and from its management staff at local, regional and national levels has been exceptional. Above all, UL is greatly indebted to the very large number of clinicians who have been instrumental in educating our both our GEMS and Clinical Therapy students, by sharing their expertise and supporting our student’s professional growth. We are proud to be working with the HSE on a shared facility to be located on the University Hospital Limerick campus – a Clinical Education and Research facility – which will enhance the delivery of our medical programme but also support the education services required by the University Hospital Limerick community.
I also want to highlight the over 80 General Practices throughout the Munster region and well beyond who have embraced the Medical School and its students. The GEMS is unique, not only within Ireland but internationally, in terms of the emphasis that it places on clinical training in Primary Care settings. A full 25% of all such training at UL is provided in General Practice settings and this has already proved to be a major strength of our programme. This simply could not have happened without an exceptional level of ‘buy in’ from General Practitioners and for this, UL is hugely appreciative.”
“Today 52 graduates from Clinical Therapies will cross the stage to receive their degrees. These qualifications represent many years of study, thousands of hours in work placements and gruelling assessments. 26 students have completed the four-year Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy – the only physiotherapy academic programme in Ireland situated outside of Dublin. 26 students have also graduated from the Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy, the only graduate entry Occupational Therapy course in the country. Increasingly, health systems are trying to address health needs in the community and primary care settings to reduce the need for costly hospital-based services. Building on this trend, our Masters course is unique as it assists modern healthcare practitioners to evaluate their practice and extend, or refocus, their skills and knowledge to meet the new challenges of healthcare provision,” said Professor Don Barry.