News #3 | January/February, 2009
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Studying Medicine at the FMUL - Candidate’s Day 2008
Studying Medicine at the FMUL - Candidate’s Day 2008

José Fernandes e Fernandes, Lilia Louro, Margarida Azevedo, Nuno Rodrigues, Paula Melo, Pedro Marçal, Rodolfo Martins, Sofia Cruz, Sónia Barroso, Carlota Saldanha

Direction and Office of Planning and Evaluation
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The why, the what for and the way that the “Studying Medicine at the FMUL – Candidate’s Day” event took place for the first time will be presented in this description. The results of the questionnaires applied and those from the SWOT analysis allowed a reflection on what to change and what to keep in order to carry on with the FMUL’s policy of “opening its doors” to secondary school students.


In the 2007-2008 academic year the FMUL received many requests from secondary schools to be present at the seminars that would be held on the subject of the diversity of professions. In order to respond to this, appropriate material was produced (brochure, poster, CD with PowerPoint presentation) to be distributed in schools. Later analysis carried out on the functioning, content and experience of these presences showed difficulties associated to the coincidence of days, to the distance, to the time spent in travelling and to the lack of representatives available. These factors limited the number of replies to the invitations to secondary schools. The Dean of the FMUL, Professor José Fernandes e Fernandes, considered that a day devoted to receiving students interested in the area of health sciences and curious about learning to become a doctor would be a more all-embracing and visible event. He thus suggested the drawing up of a programme to present the FMUL during a day he termed “Studying Medicine at the FMUL - Candidate’s Day”.

So, with the slogan “Come in! Try out your future.”, the FMUL opened its doors on the 3rd of June 2008, promoting the event “Studying Medicine at the FMUL - Candidate’s Day”, aimed at 12th Grade students who would like to apply to the Integrated MA in Medicine at the FMUL.

The aim was for secondary school pupils to have the opportunity to get to know one of the major centres of Portuguese medical teaching, interacting, exhibiting its curiosities, doubts and obtaining answers. It was also an opportunity offered to the participants to choose the institutions in an informed and reflected manner. The divulging of the event was carried out by the Regional Educational Directorates, in the Secondary School Administrations, on the Universia portal, the Lisbon University portal and the FMUL portal and on the premises of the Lisbon University Social Services (refectory), through a programme and an invitation.

Given the short space of time available to prepare, divulge and permit an answer from the schools, this initiative was considered as a pilot experiment.

actividades do dia do candidato de 2008


Before the beginning of the programme of events the participants were given a questionnaire about how they obtained information about the event and about their motivations for choosing the course in medicine. They were offered an information pack about the FMUL and some promotional material. The welcome session was presided over by the Dean of the FMUL, and the presentation of the programme of events was led by the President of the Students’ Association (AEFML). Debates were held at this session about what it means to be a doctor, with the participation of professors from the FMUL, and information was given about the process of admission to the FMUL.

The participants, in groups of five and with the collaboration of doctor tutors, then undertook a tour that led them to visit the FMUL’s spaces of teaching-learning, namely the Anatomy Theatre in the Anatomy Institute, the training models at the Institute of Clinical Semiotics, the Augusto Celestino da Costa Amphitheatre as an icon of a theoretical teaching space, the Laboratory of Surgical Practices and of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, the CDI Library and also the Students’ Association.

After lunch the participants had the opportunity to get to know the activities carried out by (and in) the Students’ Association, and to mix with FMUL students and researchers. There was some dialogue and clarification of doubts about academic life, the medical profession and research between the participants, members of the association and medical tutors. The participants attended a presentation of reports about training periods in Africa promoted by the University Infectious Diseases Clinics under the tutelage of Professor Francisco Antunes. They also had the opportunity to visit the information stands about the FMUL and the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM), and to have access to the information made available by teaching and research units and also about the Santa Maria Hospital – North Lisbon Hospital Centre, which contributed with information panels and other information materials. The information projection on student support services, medical research and academic life at the FMUL was available.

At the end of the session a questionnaire was filled out in order to assess the participants’ satisfaction in relation to the event, and the results of the questionnaire were presented at the beginning of the activity.

As for the results obtained, we could verify that in the majority the participants:

- were from schools in the districts of Setúbal and Lisbon;
- attended state schools;
- found out about the event through the FMUL portal and through friends;
- indicated being able to get to know the FMUL premises as the main reason for participating in the event;
- indicated interest in this field as the main reason for choosing this course, and;
- indicated the prestige of FMUL as the main reason for possibly choosing this institution to study at.

As for the assessment of the holding of the event by the participants, we could verify that in the majority:

- they stated they were very satisfied with the programme of the event;
- they showed a high level of satisfaction as to the logistical organisation;
- they consider that the main advantage of participating in the event was the possibility to mix with teachers, researchers and students from the FMUL, and;
- they indicated that the quality of the teaching was the main reason that might lead them to choose the FMUL. 

We quote some of the observations we believe are most representative of the aims achieved by this event: 

imagens dos candidatos"I became even more convinced that, should I achieve the necessary marks, going to the FMUL will be a great choice”. 

I consider it was fundamental for deciding on my order of choices of universities to attend to study medicine".

It was fundamental for clarifying my doubts and justifying my options in relation to my choice of faculty”. 

It was very important in my future decision, both on the career level and in relation to the university to choose”. 


This pilot experiment was positive, namely due to having encouraged communication and the opening up of perspectives, allowing the sharing of experiences about “being a doctor” and “studying medicine”. This indicated that it should be continued, stressing that the length of time spent divulging the event should be extended in order to allow schools to adapt and develop their programme with the day devoted to this event and/or to acquire the financial support necessary to bring the candidates to the FMUL. The date of the event should be chosen in order to take into consideration the existence of the functioning of the academic year at the FMUL and a time free of assessment tests in the secondary system. The time destined for the activities planned for the afternoon, which did not allow the participants to observe the exhibits with due attention and the absence of the total of visits to the teaching-learning spaces in the morning were the points that did not allow the event to achieve perfection. It is therefore necessary to make a careful logistical programming of the time that each activity takes.

This event was supervised by the Dean of the FMUL Professor José Fernandes e Fernandes, and planned and carried out by the team made up of:

- Professor Carlota Saldanha (Coordination)
- Lilia Louro, GRP
- Margarida Azevedo, GRP
- Nuno Rodrigues, GPA
- Paula Melo, CP
- Pedro Marçal, GPA
- Rodolfo Martins, GAPAE
- Sofia Cruz, GAAME
- Sónia Barroso, GAPIC

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Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes
Editorial Commitee: Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes, Prof. Doutor Alexandre Ribeiro, Prof. Doutor António Vaz Carneiro, Prof. Doutor João Ferreira, Dr. Luis Pereira
Information Officer: Ana Raquel Moreira
Editorial Team: Ana Maria Silva, Ana Raquel Moreira, André Silva, Lara Ponte, Miguel Andrade, Rui Gomes, Sónia Barroso, Susana Henriques, Tânia Simões
Collaboration: Communication and Image Office - Ana Isabel Gonçalves da Silva, Bruno Moura
Design and Technical Support: UTI 
Design and development: Spirituc