The College of Medicine undergraduate medical curriculum was reformed in 2009. The reformed curriculum is a system- oriented, student- centered, integrated, community- oriented curriculum. The curriculum is 5 years long and is divided into basic science years (year 1 & 2), a preclinical year (third year) and clinical years (year 4 &5) (figure 1). The first 2 years are divided into a system- oriented block that covers multiple-disciplines: anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology. During these 2 years, the students are introduced to basic clinical skills as part of the vertical integration of the curriculum. The students also learn by small group discussion sessions that involve a clinical scenario and adopt the problem- based learning strategy. Practical sessions are also included to introduce students to practical skills. The third year is the preclinical year, during which students cover different aspects of medicine and surgery in addition to research and community medicine. The clinical years are divide into rotations through the clinical departments: surgery, medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, ENT, psychiatry and orthopedics.
The College of Medicine undergraduate curriculum is an outcome based curriculum. The outcome is a statement of what a learner is expected to know, understand and be able to do at the end of a period of learning (module/unit or course leading to a qualification) and how that learning is to be demonstrated. Learning outcomes are important for an institution program or a course. The main question to be answered is: “What a candidate can do when he/she has obtained his/her degree?” The whole educational areas of an institution curriculum should be based on the concept of learning outcomes which focus on what the learners have achieved and can demonstrate at the end of a learning activity, rather than the intentions of the teacher.
Outcome-Based Education is the most significant development in medical education in the past decade. International trends in education show a shift from a traditional “teacher centered” approach, to a “student centered” learning. This alternative model focuses on what the students are expected to be able to do at the end of the module or programme. Hence, this approach is commonly referred to as an outcome-based approach.
The outcome-based approach to teaching is becoming increasingly popular at an international level. This approach has been adopted by National Quality and Qualifications Authorities in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South African Qualification Authorities and other countries.
During the process of revision and reform of the curriculum, the outcome development committee at the Medical Education Department, College of Medicine, KSU, has reviewed a number of documents about outcomes education from different international institutions including (Appendix):
1. Can-MED, Canada
2. GMC Tomorrows Doctors, United Kingdom
3. Dundee 12 outcomes
4. AAMC, USA
5. WHO Five star doctor
6. Brown‟s Nine Abilities
7. The International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia.
In 2017, the College of Medicine approved the allignement of the undergraduate medical curriculum with the SaudiMeds framework. SaudiMEDs is a framework for learning outcomes for the undergraduate medical degree in Saudi Arabia. The initiative was found by the Saudi Medical Deans’ Committee to establish common core learning outcomes/competencies for the medical degree programs in Saudi Arabia. The work began in 2009 and ended in 2015.
Level I comprises six themes detailed further in the next level. The focus of this level is on describing the relevant physician's duties and obligations
Level II comprises seventeen key competences (Learning outcomes) a physician should obtain. These are further detailed at the next level, while paying special consideration to program specialization and level.
Level III comprises eighty enabling competences the committee deems essential for all undergraduate medical programs in Saudi Arabia. However, this level could vary from one program to another. For example, they could vary from undergraduate to postgraduate to life-long learning. This level is strongly connected to the nature of medical education and practice of a given specific specialty.