Brain and Behaviour Tutor Guide

1. Brain and Behaviour Tutor Guide: Introduction

This is a fourth year placement consisting of one week in General Practice.  It exists within the wider Brain and Behaviour unit which is a 12 week placement. The students have a two week introductory course followed by a rotation consisting of 5 weeks in Psychiatry, two weeks in Neurology, one week in Neurosurgery and one week in Ophthalmology. Students will come to you with varying degrees of experience depending on where in their rotation the GP placement falls. When assessing the students’ learning needs it is important to establish what they have/ have not completed in the rotation.


The life of a GP rarely centres on specific subjects and this has been acknowledged by the Medical School. We are not aiming for GP to teach entirely on the specialist subjects; the students will have that type of exposure from their hospital placements.


What we are asking is that GPs teach core General Practice but with particular reference to Neurology and Psychiatry. This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how anxiety/depression, somatisation, alcohol and drug problems etc. are all managed by GPs. The Neurology teaching is about exposing

students to conditions such as Stroke, MS, Parkinson’s disease, Epilepsy , Diabetic neuropathy and giving the students an understanding of how patients live with long term neurological conditions and how these conditions may present in the community.


It is equally relevant for students to learn about more common conditions such as headaches, back pain and general eye problems. There is an Ophthalmology component to this unit so the routine eye checks in diabetic/ hypertension clinics are all very relevant to widening student experience.

The unit does not need to be a neuro-anatomy Master- class followed by a psychiatry outpatient’s clinic!  It is much more important that the students understand the prevalence of disease, the effect of disease on patient’s lives and how GPs manage those primary presentations and the decision making process behind referral or primary care management.


One of the strengths of teaching in GP are the patients. We know that students gain most from being observed in clinical practice and receiving direct feedback. We envisage that during 100% sessions tutors will plan a tutorial where 2-4 patients will be invited to attend to allow the students to practice history taking and examination ideally with the tutor.


50% sessions will be modified clinics where the session will be filtered so that patients with psychological or neurological conditions are more likely to be seen in that session introducing gaps between patients to discuss learning points would be best practice. This has the advantage of demonstrating first presentation of illness and encourages students to think in terms of diagnosis and management.


We would also encourage students to do home visits. Please see the home visit policy below. There is a DVD that was sent to last year's B&B tutors. Please contact the department if you would like a copy of the disc. We have a certificate to thank patients for their time included on the DVD. Please send the certificate with the students if you think your patients would appreciate it.