A doctor taking notes at a desk

Engagement and community in general practice education

  • Research
  • Society

As Ireland’s only university dedicated solely to medicine and health sciences, RCSI is committed to engaging with a range of communities to ensure our research, education and training addresses the health challenges facing society. Here, Professor Patrick Redmond of RCSI’s Department of General Practice outlines the importance of practice placements and engagement in ensuring our students are equipped with the skills, insights and understanding they need as they begin a career of patient-service.

Engagement forms the core of our teaching approach in the RCSI Department of General Practice. We strive to provide our students with top-notch clinical education, practical skills, and firsthand experience in general practice.

A highlight of our engagement efforts is the annual GP Tutor event, which gathers up to 100 GPs from our teaching and research network nationwide. This event fosters networking, knowledge sharing, and updates on clinical education. It's also an opportunity for us to show appreciation for the experienced GPs who form the backbone of our clinical teaching. 

Dr. Suzanne Milligan, a GP tutor with 22 years of experience at RCSI, shares her perspective: "The annual GP Tutor workshop is the pinnacle of our teaching year. It combines formal lectures from guest speakers in medical education with breakout workshops and talks, sparking active discussions and providing valuable feedback and ideas for our teaching. This event fosters a supportive, collegiate community, and the opportunity to interact with the academic and administration teams is invaluable – not to mention the excellent catering, a significant draw in itself!"  

Throughout the academic year, these GP practices host our students, providing hands-on training and real-world exposure. This not only enhances our students' clinical and practical skills but also instils a sense of community service and patient-centred care. 

These placements also highlight the multifaceted, rewarding nature of general practice, encouraging more medical students to consider this career path to ensure communities have sufficient access to primary care. 

Community-led care

Our focus on community-led care aligns with initiatives like Sláintecare in Ireland, pivoting towards community-centred healthcare delivery. Training students in GP practices prepares them for a healthcare landscape increasingly oriented towards community-based models. 

This approach supports the national shift towards integrated care, positioning GPs as central figures in illness treatment, management, and prevention, alongside other healthcare professionals in the community. 

In line with RCSI's commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3 targeting good health and well-being, our efforts, alongside our colleagues across the RCSI community, are directed towards improving access to essential healthcare services and promoting community-led care. Our approach also contributes to providing inclusive and equitable quality education (UNSDG 4) and reducing inequality (UNSDG 10). 

By focusing on training future GPs and emphasising community-led care, we contribute to creating inclusive, safe, and sustainable communities (UNSDG 11), fundamental for Sustainable Cities and Communities. 

RCSI's strategic plan, Innovating for a Healthier Future 2023 – 2027, encapsulates our commitment to these goals. More information on our strategy and its impactful outcomes is available here.

Professor Patrick Redmond is a GP and Associate Professor in General Practice at RCSI's Department of General Practice.


RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.