Overview

By the end of the PG Cert programme, students will have enhanced their understanding of the evidence-based child health, their critical appraisal skills, their understanding of the scientific basis and genetic origins of childhood disease and their diagnosis and treatment of important paediatric conditions through applying the most up to date and appropriate methods. They will also have developed skills in the use of computing and data management as applied to healthcare, skills in leadership and professional development, and a deeper understanding of their own approach to adult learning.


Modules

The PG Cert is offered as a 9-month part-time course comprising five modules (30ECTS) which are all core to the programme.

Each module includes a block of face-to-face teaching at Imperial College followed by a structured programme of e-learning tasks which are all available on the web for distance learning. During the time at Imperial, you will learn by attending lectures, workshops and tutorials. At the end of the four modules (9 months study), you can be awarded the PG Cert or upgrade to the PG Dip or MSc programme.

Modules for PG Cert

Science and evidence in Paediatric Practice (October – 5 days)

This module will explore and explain the physiological basis of common problems encountered in paediatric practice.

It will focus on the ontogeny of systems from conception to maturity and the way in which this affects susceptibility and manifestations of disease. Study of early life programming in cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, respiratory conditions and allergy will cover mechanisms such as gene/environment interactions and epigenetics. Individual organ systems will be covered in detail including maturation, physiology, biochemistry, genomics and proteomics.

Current understanding of neurodevelopment from studies of the preterm brain and long-term consequences of extreme prematurity will be covered. Immunology, biochemistry and haematology will be presented in ways that clarify what may go wrong during childhood and how laboratory tests should be employed and interpreted. Evidence-based paediatric practice sessions will teach students how to critically appraise the literature, including hypothesis formulation, the contribution of epidemiology and qualitative research to practice and how to design appropriate clinical research studies. Assignments will be used to illustrate how different study designs can be tailored to answer different research questions. The resources for guiding clinical practice, such as NICE guidance, Cochrane reviews, meta-analytical techniques will be appraised.

Assessment will be by a 1.5 hour written examination incorporating 45 extended matching items and one best answer questions, and a written assignment (1500 words) constructing a research proposal, which includes creating a hypothesis and designing a study to test the hypothesis.

Nutrition, growth and development of the child (February – 2 days)

This module will include normal control of fetal growth and disorders of growth pre-birth. There will be significant emphasis on exploring the genetic and environmental influences on growth before birth. Normal patterns of infant growth will be explored as well as common disorders, including behavioural feeding problems. Faltering and excess weight gain will be discussed. The influence of allergy and food intolerance as a growth problem will be looked at from an epidemiological, immunological and clinical standpoint. The course will cover hormonal control of growth throughout childhood and important disorders. Specific nutritional problems common in infancy- Vitamin D, iron deficiency and the public health aspects of common disorders of infant and child nutrition will be explored as well as control of puberty and common variants and the investigation of abnormalities of growth throughout childhood. Assessment will be a 1500 word written review of one topical issue covered by the module with literature search to present a balanced overview of the current state of knowledge including underlying causes, diagnosis and management underpinned by scientific/clinical research.

Recognition and management of the seriously ill child (February – 2 days)

This module will cover the presentation, recognition, diagnosis, management and outcome of the conditions which most commonly cause life-threatening illness in children of all ages. It will develop knowledge of epidemiology, pathophysiology and therapeutic principles of serious illness in childhood and provide experience of the skills and techniques required to diagnose, monitor and treat these conditions. Examples of illness covered in the modules include Infection, Haematology, Trauma, Respiratory, Renal, Anaphylaxis, Surgical conditions, cardiology, neurology, and neonatology. Current research themes with a potential impact on diagnosis and treatment will be explored. Students will view simulation videos to observe, question and be trained in best clinical practice and tutorials/workshops to facilitate understanding and knowledge of the module topics. Assessment will be a 1500 word written assignment concentrating on a selected aspect of serious illness in childhood and describing the cause of the illness, its effect on physiology, the natural history of the condition and the chosen management plan including a discussion of the roles played by each member of the healthcare team involved.

Law and ethics (May – 2 days)

This is a two-day course looking at Medical Law and Ethics as applied to Paediatric Practice, including negligence, confidentiality, child protection, research, end of life care, organ donation, reporting of deaths and the Coronial process which includes a visit to Westminster Coroner’s Court.

The course will enhance your understanding of the ethical and legal principles of treating children. It includes the concepts of autonomy/capacity/best interests and negligence, as well as covering the topics of confidentiality and consent, child protection and The Children Act 1989, research ethics in children, end of life decision-making and limitations to treatment and conflict resolution – a practical approach. It also looks at aspects of child death including the role of the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP), death certification and post-mortem examinations, the Coroner's role and Inquests.

Paediatric sleep (May – 2 days)

This course will provide historical and modern perspectives in sleep medicine with a dual emphasis: theoretical knowledge and practical skills that are most useful in a clinical setting.   The course covers normal and disordered sleep in the paediatric patient, ranging from infancy to adolescence, with a focus on the most common problems seen in clinical practice today. The impact of sleep problems on a wide range of developmental areas will be discussed including growth, cognition, behaviour, memory and learning. Clinical examination of the child at risk of respiratory and/or non-respiratory sleep disorders will be covered, including how to take a comprehensive sleep history.  Polysomnography and other methods of measuring sleep will be introduced. Translational research that focuses on the impact of asthma and other atopic diseases on sleep quality during childhood will be presented.