Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

BSc (Med Sci) & BSc (Dent Sci) Clin. Med. Specialist Course 4: Critical Care &Perioperative Medicine MED4035

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This intercalated course is aimed at any medical student interested in pursuing a career in an acute surgical speciality, anaesthesia or critical care medicine. The course encourages adopting a holistic approach to the complex surgical patient so that appropriate consent and perioperative optimisation can be achieved.


On average approximately 6 x 1.5 hour sessions per week in Semester One, and 2 x 1.5 hour session per week in Semester 2.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Actively enrolled in an MBChB or BDS and normally have successfully completed at least the first 3 years. Exceptionally, some external students from specific partner institutions may join the course after completion of two years of MBChB or BDS (or equivalent); however award of the intercalated degree will be withheld until they have subsequently completed the required number of additional credits (or equivalent) at their home institution.

Recommended Entry Requirements

Will normally be placed within the top 50% of the year and have demonstrated good academic progress.

Excluded Courses



BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Core Course

BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Research Project

BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Statistics



65% written examination in April/May

35% review essay completed during 2nd semester

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

Acute and elective perioperative medicine is becoming more complex. The aim of this course is to demonstrate the normal physiological response involved in the perioperative period and how additional pathological processes can cause post operative morbidity and mortality if not optimised appropriately. We will be focusing on the underlying physiological, homeostatic, metabolic and inflammatory processes involved and teach undergraduates how to approach the complex patient in a holistic manner. As part of this it is important that students can appraise the relevant literature and ensure the patients have been fully evaluated so that the operative risk can be fully considered.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of risk stratification in surgery and the use of scoring systems

Describe the normal 'stress response to surgery' and the pathophysiological process that occur in the postoperative period

Define what is meant by the SIRS response and how this can progress to the development of sepsis

Define the metabolic and homeostatic derangement in the critically ill

Discuss the effects of a prolonged inflammatory response on physical and psychological outcome

Define what is meant by pre-optimisation and discuss how this can be achieved

Describe the role of inadequate pain control in postoperative morbidity

Identify the signs and symptoms of multi-organ failure

Summarise the medico legal and ethical issues surrounding surgery, consent and the postoperative period

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment. Attendance of at least 80% of lectures and tutorials is mandatory along with active participation in the seminar and other teaching opportunities.