Student perceptions of an online surgical teaching programme during the COVID-19 pandemic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal:  A short report

The COVID-19  pandemic  has  led  to  an  unprecedented  global  health  crisis, with impacts on many facets of the health system, and lack of access and  the  need  for  social  distancing,  particularly,  imposed  challenges  to  undergraduate  training  that  traditionally  used  ward-based  exposure  and  contact with patients for medical training. A decision was made to transition all teaching and learning of final-year surgery students to an online/virtual teaching platform.

COVID-19 and medical educator perceptions: Sense-making during times of crisis

Although crises are generally considered uncommon and unexpected,  HPE  literature  supports  the  concept  of  crisis  in  perpetuity. Globally, this has been observed  by  the  detrimental  effects  of  Hurricane  Katrina  in  Louisiana, human  conflict  in  Iraq  and  the  disruptions  caused  by  the  SARS virus in Hong Kong and Canada. At UCT, the site of this research, medical  training  has  been  disrupted  on  numerous  occasions.  In 2016, the #feesmustfall  student  activist  movement  led  to  training  disruptions  over  a  period  of  several  weeks  and  to  a  complete  suspension  in  training  for  most  health  professions (HP) students. More  recently, in  2021,  a  wildfire  on  Table  Mountain  damaged  UCT  property,  resulting  in  the  suspension  of  academic activities for several days.

Promoting critical thinking through simulation-based healthcare training (SBHT): A scoping review

Promoting  critical  thinking  (CT)  within  a  health  professions  (HP)  curriculum is often a complex task for academic staff. However, despite the complexity and difficulty in achieving CT in students, CT is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a core competency or graduate attribute for professional proficiency in almost all HP qualifications. The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) states that various critical outcomes must be embedded in all qualifications, the first of which is that the  graduate  should  be  able  to  display  critical  and  creative  thinking  as  they identify and solve problems. Hence, CT forms an integral part of all South African (SA) health professions (HP) curricula.

Reporting quality of Master of Medicine (MMed) mini-dissertations using the STROBE checklist

The 2011 HPCSA directive to make a research component compulsory for specialist  registration  came  at  a  critical  time  in  the  SA  higher  education  environment.  Since  1994,  a  cascade  of  policy-driven  changes  linked  to  the  country’s  transformation,  research  and  economic  strategy,  has  resulted  in  pressures  on  universities  to  do  more  with  less.  Such  pressures  have  had  a  knock-on effect on postgraduate training in general, which clinical specialist research training has not escaped.

High-fidelity simulation: A practice model for nurse educators at a South African private higher education institution

The main objective of nursing education is to guide student nurses towards clinical  competence. Student  nurses  need  clinical  exposure  to  gain  experience and confidence to perform clinical tasks. In the private sector, clinical exposure has proven to be a challenge due to insufficient clinical placements and learning opportunities. A contributing factor is a decrease in patient bed occupation rates due to the increased cost of healthcare. The challenge experienced with clinical exposure and limited learning opportunities contributes to student nurses’ lack of confidence when performing clinical tasks, consequently creating an ‘unsafe’ environment for them and for the patient.

Men in the service of humanity: Sociocultural perceptions of the nursing profession in South Africa

Gender imbalances in nursing education remain. The proportion of men in nursing has persistently remained low, despite relative progress being noted with regard to the proportion of women entering professions previously deemed the realm of men. In South Africa (SA), according to the South African Nursing Council (SANC), 2019 statistics on the provincial distribution of nursing manpower showed that only 10.4% of practising nurses were male, while 8% were male nursing students.

Perceptions of undergraduate allied health students of the clinical learning environment and clinical educators’ attributes at the University of Ghana

Clinical learning comprises two parts, i.e. the clinical learning environment and supervision, which is provided by clinical educators. The clinical learning environment is defined as the interactive network of forces influencing student learning outcome in the clinical setting. However, a significant mismatch has been found between the preferred and actual learning environments of paramedical students.

The use of peer physical examination in undergraduate health professions education: Exploring the perceptions of students and educators in a multicultural, multiracial institution

The role of practical skills in daily clinical practice cannot be overemphasised. Hence practical clinical competence and competence-oriented training are often essential aspects of most medical curricula. To ensure patient safety, it is expected that certain practical skills, such as physical examination, should have been mastered during undergraduate medical training.

Supporting undergraduate research capacity development: A process evaluation of an Undergraduate Research Office at a South African Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

The value of building capacity to conduct research to address health challenges in low- and middle-income countries is well recognised. Various  strategies  have  been  implemented,  including  formal  research  training at higher education (HE) institutions and research-focused degrees. In parallel, the importance of evidence-based healthcare (EBHC), as endorsed by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), has seen the integration of EBHC teaching in medical/health science faculties.


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African Journal of Health Professions Education – November 2023, Vol 15 No 4