African Journal of Health Professions Education
The AJHPE is a bi-annual journal for health professionals. It carries research articles and letters, editorials, education practice, personal opinion and other topics related to education for health professionals. It also carries related African education-related news, obituaries, general correspondence, and classified advertisements.
|Publisher||Health and Medical Publishing Group (HMPG)|
|Coverage||Vol 1 Issue 1 2009 - current|
Third-year medical students' and clinical teachers' perceptions of formative assessment feedback in the simulated clinical setting : research
Background. Clinical skills training in the clinical skills laboratory (CSL) environment forms an important part of the undergraduate medical curriculum. These skills are better demonstrated than described. A lack of direct observation and feedback given to medical students performing these skills has been reported. Without feedback, errors are uncorrected, good performance is not reinforced and clinical competence is minimally achieved.
Objectives. To explore the perceptions of 3rd-year medical students and their clinical teachers about formative clinical assessment feedback in the CSL setting.
Methods. Questionnaires with open- and closed-ended questions were administered to 3rd-year medical students and their clinical skills teachers. Quantitative data were statistically analysed while qualitative data were thematically analysed.
Results. Five clinical teachers and 183 medical students participated. Average scores for the items varied between 1.87 and 5.00 (1: negative to 5:positive). The majority of students reported that feedback informed them of their competence level and learning needs, and motivated them to improve their skills and participation in patient-centred learning activities. Teachers believed that they provided sufficient and balanced feedback. Some students were concerned about the lack of standardised and structured assessment criteria and variation in teacher feedback. No statistical difference (p<0.05) was found between the mean item ratings based on demographic and academic background.
Conclusion. Most teachers and students were satisfied with the feedback given and received, respectively. Structured and balanced criterion-referenced feedback processes, together with feedback training workshops for staff and students, are recommended to enhance feedback practice quality in the CSL. Limited clinical staff in the CSL was noted as a concern.
Feedback as a means to improve clinical competencies : registrars' perceptions of the quality of feedback provided by consultants in an academic hospital setting : research
Background. The training of novices, in any field, to achieve the optimum state of cognitive, clinical, technical and professional development requires a variety of teaching methodologies, including the process of feedback. Feedback is defined as a process where the desired standard of proficiency in a task has already been established and communicated to the student before gaps in performing the task or in the level of knowledge are identified. The process of feedback has often been evaluated and has consistently revealed students' dissatisfaction with the amount and type of feedback they receive in their clinical and postgraduate training, as they perceive it to be inadequate, inappropriate or non-existent.
Objectives. To investigate the perceptions of the quality of feedback received by a diverse, heterogeneous population of registrars in postgraduate training at an academic hospital.
Methods. A study was conducted using a questionnaire to determine the perceptions of all registrars in the six major clinical training programmes with regard to the quality, efficacy and effectiveness of feedback received during clinical training. Descriptive statistics were used to interpret the responses of the registrars, with mean values being calculated.
Results. Perceptions of the quality of feedback received differed across disciplines.Overall, the registrars rated the feedback they received as poor. The majority (51.4%) reported that both formal and informal feedback was only sometimes, even rarely, received during all encounters with consultants. Others (51.3%) felt that the feedback received was unacceptable, and did not perceive it to be based on concrete observations of performance. The proficiency of consultants in giving feedback was scored as unacceptable by 64.8% of registrars.
Conclusion. Registrars in training regard feedback as an essential component of their postgraduate medical education and as an important component of achieving clinical competence. More formalised processes need to be implemented. The majority of registrars agreed that consultants required training in providing feedback effectively.
Feedback as a means to improve clinical competencies : consultants' perceptions of the quality of feedback given to registrars : research
Background. Effective supervision by consultants in postgraduate medical education involves the process of feedback. Giving feedback may be challenging for consultants who have no formal training in this process, which may be further compounded in heterogeneous diverse settings.
Objective. To explore consultants' perceptions of feedback to registrars in a multicultural, multilingual diverse academic hospital setting.
Methods. Thirty-seven consultants consented to completing a questionnaire on what, when, where, how often, and how feedback was provided, as well as on the type and effect of feedback to registrars. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Differences between groups were calculated using Pearson's χ2 test for independent variables, with a p-value of <0.05 regarded as being statistically significant.
Results. Only 40% of consultants reported that they provided feedback often or always and 62.2% reported that standards were not predetermined and communicated to registrars. When feedback was provided, it was based on concrete observations of performance (78.4%), it incorporated a plan for improvement (72.9%) and it supplied information on techniques performed incorrectly (72.9%). Only 40.5% of consultants provided feedback on procedures performed correctly. Moreover, only half of the consultants believed they were proficient at giving feedback.
Conclusion. Consultants need to develop the art of giving feedback through appropriate training so that they are more comfortable and proficient with the various aspects of feedback, leading to a positive effect on enhancing registrar training.
Assessing the effect of an online HIV/AIDS course on 1st-year pharmacy students' knowledge : research
Background. More international HIV/AIDS intervention initiatives targeting young adults are needed to help reach targets set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
Objectives. To determine the effect of an online HIV/AIDS course on 1st-year pharmacy students' knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission and of the science of HIV infection.
Methods. Online anonymous surveys, the Pre- and Post-Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, were administered by means of an online survey tool, Survey Monkey (USA), to 1st-year pharmacy students, from 2009 to 2013. These surveys were administered online during the first and last weeks of class, respectively.
Results. With regard to HIV prevention and transmission, student knowledge of the manner in which HIV is transmitted improved during the course. Overall, students were more confident about their knowledge of HIV prevention. They also indicated that as a direct result of taking the AIDS Online International course they were more reluctant to have unsafe sex and more confident about how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. Their scientific knowledge also improved.
Conclusion. The implementation of an online HIV/AIDS course has proved to be an effective method of HIV/AIDS education, and may also be aviable HIV intervention initiative.
Motivated strategies for learning and their association with academic performance of a diverse group of 1st-year medical students : research
Background. Most instruments, including the well-known Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), have been designed in western homogeneous settings. Use of the MSLQ in health professions education is limited.
Objective. To assess the MSLQ and its association with the academic performance of a meterogeneous group of 1st-year medical students.
Methods. Eighty-three percent of 1st-year medical students consented to participate in this quantitative study. The MSLQ consisted of a motivation strategies component with six subscales, while the learning strategies component had nine subscales. Demographic and academic achievement information of the students was also collected. Stata version 13 (StataCorp LP, USA) was used for the statistical analyses of all data.
Results. Female students displayed significantly higher motivational scores. Students with prior educational experience and those who attended peermentoring sessions had significantly higher learning strategy scores. Significant but moderate relationships were found between academic performance and the motivation strategies subsumed within the categories 'task value' and 'self-efficacy for learning performance'. In terms of the 'learning strategy component', 'critical thinking', and 'time and study environment', the composite score was significantly but poorly correlated to academic performance.
Conclusion. Overall, limited correlations were found between the MSLQ scores and academic performance. Further investigation of the use of the MSLQ and its association with academic achievement is recommended, with greater focus on specific learning events than on course outcomes. This study highlights the importance of evaluating an instrument in a specific context before accepting the findings of others with regard to the use of the instrument and its correlation with academic performance.
Exploring the relationship between demographic factors, performance and fortitude in a group of diverse 1st-year medical students : research
Background. The majority of 1st-year students are ill-equipped for university life. This heightens stress levels, which are accentuated by a lack of resilience and impact negatively on academic performance and personal wellbeing.
Objectives. To explore, within the paradigm of positive psychology, the relationship between the self, family and support constructs of fortitude, and academic performance of 1st-year medical students.
Method. First-year medical students completed a fortitude questionnaire and their academic performances in two academic modules were collated.Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests were employed for statistical analysis of the variables. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the relationship between academic performance and fortitude subscales, as well as the fortitude composite score.
Results. The student population was multicultural, multilingual and had different educational and residential backgrounds. The fortitude instrument was found to be reliable and correlated significantly with student academic performance. Male students had significantly higher fortitude scores than female students. Students who had attended state/government schools had significantly lower fortitude than those who had attended private and ex-Model C schools. Students with prior degrees had higher fortitude than matriculants.
Conclusion. The significant, albeit moderate, positive correlation between fortitude and academic performance highlights the need for further exploration of wellbeing and holistic development of medical students. Support programmes are recommended to bridge the gap related to gender and educational background. Low and fair levels of fortitude indicate a need for corrective measures. These could include consulting relevant support networks such as student counsellors, mentors and academic development personnel.