Role of the Portfolio Supervisor

In the Medical School, students are likely to encounter several tutors throughout the Medical course. In years 1 -3, students will have a close relationship with GPPC tutors and portfolio supervisors. In addition, students are also likely to come across several course tutors depending on the year of study. This will include tutors from Clinical Skills, various SSCs and various attachments. In the more senior years (years 4 & 5), students will rotate through blocks and will encounter various block organisers and block supervisors throughout the different blocks as well as an assignment supervisor in the fourth year. BMSc students may have one or more designated supervisors or tutors depending on the type of BMSc undertaken. Students will also come across Phase conveners and the Medical School undergraduate Dean either in their administrative duties or teaching sessions. In addition, students may be referred to the Core Pastoral Team. This team consists of experienced pastoral tutors who can be available as the first point of contact for student issues. The team is led by the Academic Mentor (Dr Rob Jarvis). During the different exposures, students and tutors may establish a healthy professional relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Students may choose to discuss various issues or difficulties with one or more tutors. The range of issues can range from purely academic to issues which impact on academic progress. This is healthy and natural. However, in order for this professional relationship to remain healthy, certain rules and regulations should be observed:

  • The roles and responsibilities of the supervisors must be observed at all times.
  • The limits of support or pastoral responsibility must not be exceeded.
  • If the relationship between the student and supervisor breaks down for any reason, the medical school office must be informed at the earliest opportunity.
  • The objectives of the professional relationship should periodically be examined by both the supervisor and the student.
  • The terms of information exchange must be clear at all times. Information exchanged as confidential must remain so unless there is perceived danger to the individual or society.


What are the limits of pastoral responsibilities?

While teaching and administrative staff have a responsibility for supporting students, they are not usually qualified to provide specialised pastoral care, nor expected to do so. Consequently, in cases where a student appears to be experiencing severe distress (e.g. serious physical or mental health issues), he or she should be encouraged to seek appropriate professional help from their General Practitioner.

Very occasionally, in cases where there is perceived to be a serious risk to the safety of the student or of others, it will be necessary for the usual principles of confidentiality to be superseded by the need to seek assistance from appropriate agencies (e.g. health services or the police).