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Newcastle: Family Study

From Mediwikis
(Redirected from Family Study)

In this assignment, you will be assigned to a pregnant woman who has volunteered to see you. You will visit her at her house, and take details about her, her pregnancy, and the baby's health when it is born (Jan-March). There are a number of points to bear in mind:

Be Courteous

The first visit will probably be ineffective- after all, this is probably your first meeting with a patient alone! Use it to get to know the woman involved, and discuss with her the project and why it is useful to you; remember to get full informed consent by detailing who will see the report and who won't. Secondly, breaking the ice with your family study mother can make the difference later on between short answers and detailed descriptions of what's been going on. Remember your attitude throughout all the meetings should be professional and kind; as you'd expect a doctor to treat you- after all, this is how she is going to see you.


This is really crucial- bad ICE can make you fail the report. Only detail ICE that is listed in the mark scheme- and go into ICE for all of these areas- you'll find them in the table near the back. Here's a quick outline of ICE:

Remember to give ICE from the perspective of the patient, quotes are really handy for this.

  • Ideas: What the patient thinks about a condition or event
    • "Caesarean Sections are where the doctor cuts open my tummy and pulls the baby out"
  • Concerns: Worries of the patient about a future event
    • "Caesarean Sections are more dangerous than normal pregnancy and that worries me, but I can't do with the pain"
  • Expectations: What the patient expects to happen
    • "I expect that the doctors are going to give me Caesarean section"

Also remember to highlight your ICE in some way to make it stand out.


Making a report look good will make a difference- markers might have read dozens of the family study reports, and one that presents information in a new and interesting way will stand out. Don't do this just for the sake of it though- do it for blocks of text, and to cut down your word count. Ideas:

  • SmartArt is your friend on Office, use it to create custom diagrams.
  • Consider showing pictures of the local area though nowhere that could identify your family
  • The Family Tree isn't just another chart, you can use it to show family ties, or who is going to help out with the baby.
  • The birth section is one that just has to have cartoons to illustrate it.
  • Get hold of the WHO weight/head size charts to show your baby's development pictorially.

There's no such thing as a 'Bad Study Family'

This is a common myth- even if one family has a slew of medical conditions and concerns, it doesn't necessarily make for a better report than a family with no conditions or worries- just remember to justify them the same way- "Mrs A isn't worried about Down's syndrome, as she's never had it in her family"- while this is an incorrect assumption by the patient, its a stepping stone to talking about birth defects.

Tips from previous prize winners

Passing the Family Study is straightforward provided you follow the marks scheme and adhere to all the criteria. Achieving a merit or the Prize for the family study is an added bonus and anyone can do it given an added amount of effort! Here are a few tips that worked for me as the 2011/2012 winner, I hope you find some useful!

Within your report you should include:

  • Introduction
  • Aims
  • Social Context + Family Tree
  • Include the local area and amenities - ICE!
  • Include local, ward and national statistics - ICE!
  • Biopsychosocial family tree – a chance to include lots of information in a few words!
  • Medical Context
  • Obstetric history - ICE!
  • Pregnancy/Antenatal Care
  • Screening, symptoms, visits, scans - ICE!
  • The Birth
  • What? When? How? Who? Where? - ICE!
  • Postnatal Period
  • Baby’s health and development, breastfeeding, 6/8wk check - ICE!
  • The future?
  • Conclusion

The Mark Scheme…

  • It’s box ticking and hoop jumping!
  • Go through your report with the mark scheme and a highlighter and fully check you have included everything they have asked for!
  • Aim for merit standard!
  • Use subheadings to direct the marker to your marks! Especially helpful when they mark 20 each!


  • Be careful not to highlight non-ICE as it shows you haven't fully grasped what ICE is and how to recognise it!
  • They LOVE 2 part ICE:
  • What is it that your study mother believes, is concerned about or expects?
  • Why is it they belief, are concerned or expect that?
  • Based on lay beliefs?
  • Based on previous experience?
  • Based on reading?


  • These count for a large proportion of your overall Study mark and yet you will be inclined to spend the least amount of time on them!
  • Be honest about your errors or observations!
  • Be self-analytical and unafraid to be critical of your performance to show how it will make you a better Doctor.
  • Mention social science, MiC and PPD teaching buzzwords - it shows that you can incorporate the wider Medicine curriculum into your Study!
  • Needs to be a 3 part reflection:
  • What was it that happened?
  • Why did it happen? Why did it make you feel that way? – based on your upbringing, education, personal beliefs
  • How will you improve and how will it impact your future clinical practice?

Tips and tricks:

  • Include lots of pictures – both decorative and informative ones - it helps your study stand out! Remember to cross-reference figures used within the main body of your text so that the marker knows at which point to refer to your figures!
  • Use lots of colour as it makes your study easier to read than if you have 4000 words of plain text! You have to remember the GP tutor marking your study will read and mark 20 studies and they are likely to read it once - so make yours easy to read and stand out so it is memorable!!
  • Try to make it different from previous year's studies!

Lastly, try not to panic and think that your study isn't as good as your friends or as good as last years winner! I thought the same and I panicked and was able to win the prize so if I can, you can so just keep calm and positive! Good Luck!