UNIVERSITY OF SPLIT SCHOOL OF MEDICINE CURRICULUM
Law and Strategy
The University of Split School of Medicine Curriculum is based on the provisions of the Regulated Professions and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act passed by the Croatian Parliament in 2009 (Official Gazette no. 124/09). Recommendations from Article 27 of the Regulated Professions and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act of the Republic of Croatia are practically applied so that the training for medical doctors guarantees that the student acquires the following knowledge and skills:
a) Adequate knowledge of sciences on which medicine is based and good understanding of scientific methods including the principles of biological functions and evaluation of scientifically established facts and data analysis.
b) Sufficient understanding of the physique, functions and behaviour of healthy and sick people as well as the interrelation of a person’s health and his physical and social environment.
c) Adequate knowledge of clinical disciplines and procedures which gives an integral image of mental and physical illnesses, of medicine from the preventive point of view, of diagnosis and therapy and of human reproduction, and
d) Adequate clinical experience in health care facilities under appropriate supervision
Knowledge and skills
The curriculum is governed by Bologna regulations, recommendations and principles in accordance with the University regulations for higher education and with the School of Medicine (Split) regulations.
The choice of this type of education is based on the perception of medical education as a source of a) knowledge, b) skills and c) attitudes where teaching units, at the end of the program, integrate previously acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes into medical care for individual patient.
Knowledge and skills are acquired gradually during the program, which are then integrated into clinical rotations which train the student for independent medical work under appropriate supervision.
Knowledge is acquired through the study of natural sciences, followed by basic medical sciences and finally clinical sciences.
Skills are acquired through learning clinical skills, propedeutics and practicing clinical medicine.
The medical profession is a so called ‘regulated profession’ at the EU level and therefore it is exempt from the recommended segmentation of educational processes into undergraduate and graduate programs.
Duration of the program is six years and contains 5500 hours of direct teaching.
The school year starts on 1st October and ends on 15th July. It is not divided into semesters and classes are held in blocks for each subject.
The first examination period begins a few days (counting weekends and holidays) after the end of all classes. The number of free days is calculated in proportion to the duration of the block to which it refers. The second examination period is held between 16th and 31st July, and the third and the fourth are held in September. The fourth examination period is always held in front of a commission.
After the first three years of the program, students take the first Aggregate Knowledge Examination 1 (AKE-1) and at the end of the program the students take the Aggregate Knowledge Examination 2 (AKE-2) and the Aggregate Skills Examination (ASE). Passing all exams from the first three years of the program and respectively from the following three years of the integrated study is a prerequisite for taking the Aggregate Exam. For AKE-1 there is only one exam period and it is held in September. Students who do not pass the exam can continue with their studies but they have to pass AKE-1 before they can take AKE-2 and ASE. ASE is organized in September and April every year. AKE-1 is a prerequisite for taking AKE-2 and ASE. Knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for passing AKE-2 and ASE are integrated into the clinical rotations and are worth 25 ECTS credits.
Two weeks in a school year are scheduled for 25 hours of elective classes – one week in autumn and one in spring and never at the beginning or the end of the school year. Departments can also organize classes for electives within their blocks in such a way that they do not intervene with primary classes.
Electives also include clinical rotations. Students can choose electives from within a medical/surgical field. For example, surgical electives include: General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology etc. Elective classes consist of 250 hours of elective courses in the whole program (two in each of the first four years, 20 ECTS credits) and 640 hours (25 ECTS credits) of clinical rotations. This adds up to 890 hours (45 ECTS credits) which is equivalent to 16.1% of the total number of hours in the program (12.5% ECTS credits).
Four courses are “verticalized”.
Propedeutics, in the narrow sense of the word, is in the third year but Clinical skills courses are added to it in the first two years. Clinical skills, Propedeutics, clinical subjects and clinical rotations are carried out so that the acquisition of skills begins by practising on anatomical specimens followed by artificial models and then finally on patients, gradually reaching the most complex procedures by the sixth year of the program.
Medical humanities course unites ‘Introduction to medicine’, ‘Medical Sociology’, ‘Medical Ethics’, ‘History of Medicine’ and ‘Medical English’.
Research in biomedicine and health course is comprised of subjects required for conducting scientific research in medicine, such as: medical statistics, medical informatics, principles of evidence based medicine (EBM), evaluation of health care excellence and writing of a graduate thesis. The first part (first five years) prepares the students for research in biomedicine and the second part (sixth year) comprises the writing of the graduate thesis.
Psychological Medicine is in the third and fourth years of the program and it is directed primarily towards acquiring relationship skills with patients and colleagues, rules of conduct and compassion.
Family medicine is an 80 hour subject (3 ECTS credits) in the final year. There are 20 hours of lectures and the practical part includes two students working in the School of Medicine’s Family Medicine Clinic throughout the sixth year until they have carried out 60 hours of work. Services at the Clinic are free of charge and students’ work is supervised by two family medicine physicians employed by the School of Medicine.
Clinical rotations are during the sixth year of the program. They integrate acquired knowledge and skills which the students are expected to apply in everyday practice while managing patients.
Clinical rotations cover: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Paediatrics and Family Medicine. They are full time and last 4.5 weeks each (180 hours), except for Family Medicine which goes for 2.5 weeks (100 hours).
Students are led by their mentors during clinical rotations – one mentor per student. The rotation consists of students following the full time work of their respective mentors. In order to achieve this, students are distributed to different wards and rotated amongst them. This means that one person can mentor more students in a year.
Within the clinical rotations for Internal Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics and Paediatrics students are given the choice of sub specialties while in Family Medicine they can experience working in a specific environment (city-village, island etc.)
Mentors are chosen from senior residents and junior ward physicians. Their primary mission is to make their student-protégé a close follower of their work and their substitute whenever that is possible.