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BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 01 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:0711394
  1. Benedict Mahony, fourth year medical student1,
  2. Louise Queen, fourth year medical student1,
  3. Samantha Queen, fourth year medical student1
  1. 1Hull York Medical School

What are the pros and cons of medical students taking part in a management project, wonder Benedict Mahony and colleagues

Consider the typical medical student; we sit in a consultant's clinic trying hard to be included, or for the less motivated of us, trying hard to stay awake; we trail after foundation year 1 doctors feeling a nuisance half of the time and hopelessly inadequate for the remainder; and we struggle to cram in the vast quantity of knowledge we are expected to acquire while trying to maintain some sort of social life. Okay, this may be a slight exaggeration, but hopefully you get the idea.

Now picture this-120 students sitting in a lecture theatre, first week of year 4, still finding our feet, and we are informed that our role as medical students is taking on a whole new dimension this year. We are to become NHS managers—our medical school calls it a quality improvement project.

Believe us, it isn't an understatement to say that most of the students were less than happy. As the first intake of a new medical school, we are not unfamiliar with surprises and finding ourselves pioneering guinea pigs. To be fair, most of the implementations have been successful, and we believe we have had a well rounded medical education, but we could not help feeling that this time things had gone a bit too far. At this stage, we still didn't know what a quality improvement project was, just that it sounded like a whole lot of extra work.

What is a quality improvement project?

It is a project in which a group of three to six students will look …

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