Busy student doctors take a different set of notes
When medical students at an Irish university say they are getting marks for playing in the college orchestra, it is not a doctor, doctor joke.
NUI Galway has introduced a ground-breaking scheme recognising the value of music in training to become a doctor.
It allows first and second-year medical students to score up to 5pc of their marks by joining the college's newly-formed Medical Orchestra.
Membership of the orchestra is open to students in the schools of medicine, nursing, midwifery and health sciences, but may be treated as a Special Study Module (SSM) by medical students.
It is one of about 50 modules in which first and second-year medical students can gain academic credit by showing how they have developed wider skills.
The orchestra was formed last year as a way of giving a practical dimension to an SSM on medicine and the arts and now the college has taken it a step further offering medical students the opportunity to use it to gain credits.
Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUIG, said the rationale behind the decision was to help create better doctors.
"Playing music together brings people closer. Research has shown that it enables people to empathise more. We hope they will make more sensitive and compassionate doctors."
The orchestra should find plenty of willing participants among the medical students, which, according to producer Mary McPartlan, have strong track record in music.
"We find that a lot of medical students have A1s or A2s in music," she said.