Gerard Gormley


  • Room 04.027 - Dunluce Health Centre 1 Dunluce Avenue

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile



I am a Clinical Professor (Education) in the Centre for Medical Education (CME), Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). I qualified in medicine in 1995 and as a general practitioner in 2000. I work part-time (50%) in a busy general practice near to Belfast. I chose to become an academic GP because it allows me to synergise the clinical, research and educational aspects of my job towards the competent and compassionate care of patients. I gained a Doctorate in Medicine relating to medical education and patient care in 2003. In 2005 I was appointed Clinical Teaching Fellow at QUB and promoted to my current position as Senior Lecturer in 2007. I am also a visiting Professor at the Wilson Centre, Toronto, Canada. In 2018 I was appointed as Professor of Simulation and Clincial Skills



In my 2.5 academic days per week I have a number of key roles in the QUB medical school.



I promote scholarly activity with the aim of integrating and augmenting evidence supporting the education of the next generation of doctors 'Scholarly and Educational Research Network' (SERN) . I actively involve students as research investigators because I am passionate about nurturing their academic talent. 



As a practising clinician, educator and researcher I feel that I am well positioned to carry out relevant and practical medical education research. Currently I have two main streams of research, namely relating to Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and simulation based learning in healthcare.



Since their inception in the late seventies, OSCEs are ubiquitous in healthcare profession education. In terms of OSCE research, a psychometric discourse has largely predominated. It is my belief that such a reductionist stance does little to illuminate the complex social processes that occur within OSCEs, and how they shape the development of our students. There are concerns that OSCEs may have undesirable influences on our next generation of healthcare professionals. Social learning theories are opening up an emerging discourse around OSCEs, allowing us to get ‘behind the numbers’ and gain a greater understanding about the complex social systems that occur within OSCEs. In clinical practice - uncertainty, disturbance and risk often prevail. Rather than creating a ‘slice of this clinical life’, OSCEs often digitises human / clinical experiences that is espoused to be ‘clinical competence’.  My program of research aims to clarify some of these complex processes.



My second stream of research explores the area of simulation in healthcare education. Often technology, rather than pedagogy, predominates in healthcare simulation based education. Using dramaturgical and psychological techniques I aim to create a wide range of explicit and implicit cues that allows a more embodied and immersive simulated learning experience. By taking students to the edge of their clinical competency, in a safe and forgiving environment, students have the potential to gain a greater insight into their actions and behaviours expected of them. By extending the context of simulation into areas that doctors often feel unprepared for such as dealing with ethical and moral dilemmas, is a key feature of my research. Furthermore I am developing novel techniques of data capture in such dynamic simulated learning experiences.


Ultimately it is my hope that these streams of research will synergistically open up new methods of assessment for medical students. It is my belief that the direction of travel of OSCE development, must allow us to make judgments on student progression which includes aspects of uncertainty, divergent thinking, learning and growing from failure, and embracing the emotional and team dimensions of clinical competency. Such higher level competencies require authentic contexts to be adequately assessed. These developments may help us to make better judgments of those students that can progress into more complex and unstable clinical environments and allow their competency to further grow and develop



As a clinician I also have a research interest in prostate cancer and the use (and misuse) of Prostate Sensitive Antigen (PSA). Some of the most infamous errors in medicine have occurred when surgery was performed on the wrong side of their body. I have developed a research curiosity as to why some individuals make such right-left errors in healthcare.

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Selected Projects 2008 2013

Selected Research Output 2001 2019

10 Citations (Scopus)

'Sorry I meant the patient's left side': impact of distraction on right/left discrimination

McKinley, J., Dempster, M. & Gormley, G. J., Apr 2015, In : Medical Education. 49, 4, p. 427-435 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
medical student
arms control

The view from over there: reframing the OSCE through the experience of standardised patient raters

Johnston, J. L., Lundy, G., McCullough, M. & Gormley, G. J., Sep 2013, In : Medical Education. 47, 9, p. 899-909

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The level playing field: the impact of assessment practice on professional practice

Gormley, G., 22 Feb 2013.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Annual Celebration of Excellence Awards 2014

Gerard Gormley (Recipient), 21 Mar 2014

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

AUDGPI (2015) Annual Scientific Meeting

Gerard Gormley (Recipient), 06 Mar 2015

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Best research project

Gerard Gormley (Recipient), Carl Brennan (Recipient) & Martin Dempster (Recipient), 14 Jun 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Clinical Ethical Reasoning Through Simulation (CERTs)

Gerard Gormley (Recipient), 31 Aug 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Medical Education

Clinical Ethics and Reasoning Through Simulation (CERTS)

Gerard Gormley (Recipient), 05 Jul 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2007 2019

SESAM annual Scientific meeting

Gerard Gormley (Participant), Paul Murphy (Organiser), Linda Ni Chianain (Organiser), Debra Nestel (Organiser)
13 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

SESAM annual Scientific meeting

Paul Murphy (Organiser), Gerard Gormley (Organiser), Valerie Fulmer (Organiser), Dena Higbee (Organiser)
12 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Keeping it real; embracing real patients in OSCEs

Grainne Kearney (Advisor), Jennifer Johnston (Advisor), Nigel Hart (Advisor), Gerard Gormley (Advisor)
06 Jun 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

‘ can’t tell right from left!’ Medical students’ experiences in making laterality decisions

Gerard Gormley (Advisor), Carl Brennan (Member), Martin Dempster (Advisor)
15 Apr 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

What counts and who is accountable? An institutional account of OSCEs

Grainne Kearney (Advisor), Jennifer Johnston (Advisor), Nigel Hart (Advisor), Gerard Gormley (Advisor)
20 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation