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Honour for Letterkenny Consultant turned teacher

Seamus
BY HARRY WALSH

A SENIOR lecturer in Paediatrics at Letterkenny Medical Academy has been awarded one of the four President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence at NUI Galway for 2012-13.

Dr Séamus McGuire, NUIG School of Medicine, will be presented with his award at the Autumn Conferring ceremonies in Galway.

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The awards recognise the efforts of academic staff to ensure students receive the highest quality learning experience. In 2012-2013, the panel considered 26 individual nominations and seven team nominations for the President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence, each demonstrating excellence.

Dr McGuire spent twenty-eight years working as a Consultant Paediatrician in Letterkenny. He retired two years ago before going straight into teaching NUIG medical students at Letterkenny Medical Academy.

Dr McGuire is now responsible for teaching clinical Paediatrics to fourth-year NUI Galway medical students during their one-year placement in Letterkenny.

He firmly believes in the importance of the doctor listening to the patient.

“Listen to the patient and he or she will tell you the diagnosis. That’s a quote from Sir William Osler, a famous Canadian physician, and one which I firmly agree with. So much in medicine is common sense. Okay, today we have the benefits of hi-tech diagnostic imagining and advanced bio-medical technology but it’s hard to beat sitting down and listening carefully to your patient” he said.

Dr McGuire’s teaching philosophy places emphasis on students learning communication skills.

“It’s important for the students to learn not just essential clinical skills but also how to communicate effectively with patients. In my case that was with the parents of sick children.

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They (students) are expected to participate as junior team members. That’s very important. They’re not merely observing – they’re taking part in the day to day activities of the department. They attend hand over meetings and ward rounds. We listen to their views and respect their opinions and treat them as adult learners – which they are,” he said.

“In return, they get a very beneficial and rewarding learning experience which they value very much. Students in the Letterkenny Medical Academy have become, in a short space of time, one of the most highly regarded in the country. They are clinical apprentices in the speciality of medicine,” he said.

Dr McGuire said that it was only fair and correct to mention his colleagues at Letterkenny Medical Academy – Dr Liam Bannan, Dr Brian Callaghan, Dr Caroline McMonagle, Dr Sarah Brennan, Dr Stephen Sludds and Dr Tarig Ali – for contributing to the outstanding success of the Academy.

“All students at the university are invited each year to nominate a lecturer whom they feel has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their teaching and I feel very honoured, on behalf of the Letterkenny Medical Academy, to be the recipient of such an award,” Dr McGuire said.

“I see it as very much award to the Letterkenny Academy which is one of the best teaching academies in the country which is attached to NUIG,” he added.

As NUIG senior lecturer and clinical tutor in Paediatrics, Dr McGuire is responsible for the teaching of clinical Paediatrics to fourth-year NUI Galway medical students during their one-year placement at Letterkenny Medical Academy.

“I have adapted my teaching style to this new educational setting, ensuring that small-group teaching by experienced clinicians helps students fulfil their maximum potential,” he said.

“Letterkenny hospital is now recognised as a university teaching hospital and I hope that many of these young Irish graduates come back to work here because they’ve seen, first hand, what an exciting environment Donegal is to live and work in.

“I see it as a very positive step for the future and something which Donegal people can be proud of,” he said.

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