Professor Jean Ker

Professor Jean Ker

Position: Associate Dean of Innovation and Medical Education

Address: Clinical Skills Centre, Level 6, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

T: +44 (0) 1382 38 3315

Website: Scottish Clinical Skills 
Dow Clinical Simulation Suite


Professor Jean Ker first joined the University of Dundee 1993 as Project Coordinator for Further Improvement of the Medical Colleges in Bangladesh and has since become the Associate Dean of Innovation and Medical Education. She has worked on behalf of the World Health Organisation and British Council in medical care and primary care development in Bangladesh, Moldova and Latvia. Professor Ker has over 90 peer reviewed publications and has been an invited speaker at over 35 national and international conferences and has raised over £8M in R&D in the last 12 years. This has involved collaborative projects with European and other UK Higher Education Institutes.

In 2001 she formed the Scottish Clinical Skills Network, "a multiprofessional network of members from healthcare professionals in Scotland who are interested in the education and training of high quality clinical skills."

In 2007 she was appointed Clinical Lead in the development of the Scottish Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network.

She has been awarded the 'Innovations in Teaching' prize in 2005 and was awarded the 'Innovative Teacher of the Year' award in 2008

In 2011 she developed the Dow Clinical Simulation Suite to enhance transfer of skills and is currently involved in developing a transformational model of health care for chronic diseases in Kuwait. This same year she was awarded a national ASME teaching travelling scholarship.

She currently runs a medical education PhD programme and has introduced a Masters in Simulation Based Education for Safe Clinical Practice as part of faculty development. Recently she was awarded the Chancellor's Award for Contribution to Teaching at the University of Dundee.


Her research interests include identifying under performance using simulation, performance assessment using simulation and access to simulation based education and postgraduate clinical skills education using simulation Masters, PhD and Professional Doctorate projects.


  • Patravali N, Ker JS, McKelvie K, Jarvis R, Ambulatory care teaching: structure, realism and contextualization improve student learning, Submitted to The Clinical Teacher November 2011
  • Stirling K, Anderson F, Hogg G, Hanslip J, Bryne D, Ker J, Using simulation to support doctors in difficulty, Accepted for publication The Clinical Teacher November 2011
  • McLeod R, Mires G, Ker J. The use of the Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS) assessment tool in the clinical setting - the perceptions of students. Accepted for publication International Journal of Clinical Skills November 2011
  • Johnston TJ, Tang B, Alijani A, Steel RJ, Ker J, Nabi G. Laparoscopic surgical skills are significantly improved by the use of a portable laparoscopic simulator: results of a randomised controlled trial. Submitted to Archives of Surgery October 2011
  • Hogg G, Ker J. Over the counter clinical skills for pharmacists. The Clinical Teacher 2011;8:109-113.
  • Boursicot, Katharine; Etheridge, Luci; Sturrock, Alison; Ker, Jean; Smee, Sydney; Sambandam, Elango. Performance in assessment: Consensus statement and recommendations from the Ottawa Conference. Medical Teacher 2011
  • Steed H, Groome M, Rice P, Simpson K, Day A, Ker J. A brief report on perceptions of alcohol and society among Scottish medical students. Alcohol & Alcoholism 2011; doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr139.
  • Steed H, Groome M, Rice P, Simpson K, Day A, Ker J. Evaluation of a new core curriculum on alcohol use disorders for undergraduate medical students. Alcohol & Alcoholism 2010 45(4):395-7.
  • McLeod RA, Mires, GJ, Ker, JS, Evaluating the educational impact of Direct Observed Procedural Skills (DOPS) on final year medical students. International Journal of Clinical Skills 2010; 3(3): 147-151
  • Cantillon P., Stewart B., Haeck K., Bills J., Ker J., Retthans JJ. Simulated patient programme in Europe collegiality or separate development? Med Teacher 2010 32(3) e 106-10
  • McKenna D, Wilkinson C, Ker J. (2010) Diagnostic recognition of facial changes associated with chronic conditions: use of an eLearning tool to enhance medical student education J Vis Commun Med 33 (2) 55-62
  • Ker J. Invited Editorial for Journal of Simulation in Healthcare. Medical Teacher submitted 2010

Q & A with Jean Ker

To be honest my husband’s job drew us to the area. I had heard of medical education at the University of Dundee so made an appointment to see the head of the department and the rest is history.

There have been several highlights to be honest so please forgive my list. However what connects all of these career highlights has been the friendships and camaraderie that I have experienced:

  • Becoming a partner in general practice when I was pregnant with my second child.
  • Getting my MD and Membership when I had four young children.
  • Starting off the Scottish Clinical skills Network in 2000 which is still going 10 years after I demitted the chair.
  • Securing the £1.5 million funding for the Dow Clinical simulation suite in 2010.
  • Seeing my students obtain their PhDs/ MDs for their educational research projects.
  • The accolade of being awarded an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh stands out as being special to me from all the awards I have had as it was awarded by my peers.
  • Developing the ward simulation exercise with the Dundee clinical skills team (needed technical, administrative, academic and clinical support).
  • The success of the National Clinical Skills Managed Education Network especially the Mobile skills facility in Scotland which has trained over 4000 healthcare professionals ( I am national clinical lead for clinical skills and simulation). Working with colleagues in Dundee, Kuwait Kazakhstan and China to enhance the quality of healthcare through education.

In terms of having more women in leading roles in organisations it would be real progress if we could develop different criteria for what successful leadership looked like like. We seem to be working very much to a male perspective. “Flexibility” is a word that comes to mind.

I think it is someone who is prepared to go on the journey with you and who shares both their successes and failures with you to help you learn – it is a great privilege to see how they think.

I have always appreciated having someone safe to sound ideas and concerns with in whatever position they are in the NHS or University hierarchy. So I have developed a network of role models from administrative, clinical and academic staff over the years from whom I have learnt much wisdom.

This is the aspect of my career I have found most challenging. My career at times is like my hobby so has been all consuming at times.

I have learnt to develop limits with my family and in developing other interests like sport, music and art. This I think enriches ones work and helps one to remain fresh and innovative.

The students provide the greatest enjoyment in my current role.

I wish I had been better at negotiating!