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- Volume 3, Issue 1, 2011
African Journal of Health Professions Education - Volume 3, Issue 1, 2011
Volume 3, Issue 1, 2011
Author Scarpa SchoemanSource: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3 (2011)More Less
Standard setting is the process of determining what the minimum requirements are to be deemed knowledgeable or competent to practise. As the second decade of the 21st century progresses, we as health sciences educators in Africa need to ask ourselves whether we are keeping pace with current international practice.
Source: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3, pp 3 –6 (2011)More Less
Introduction: The need for medical students to adopt a discourse appropriate to the field is repeatedly emphasised by teaching staff during lectures and ward rounds. The acquisition of such discourse is often not assessed, resulting in inconsistency between the levels used among students of similar academic backgrounds.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which appropriate discourse was adopted by 9 medical students early in their final year during clinical case presentations, and to compare this usage with the students' final results.
Methods: Transcriptions of recorded case presentations by 9 students were assessed by 2 experts and a peer evaluator, using a rubric which drew on prior research in medical discourse, and included the prominent themes of terminology and thematic staging. These were then compared with their academic results.
Results: Our findings show that most students are able to use the appropriate terminology when they reach their final year of study. However, our data also support the hypothesis that students with similar academic backgrounds may display considerable variation in their level of discourse. Although it appears as if the students were all beginning to shift towards a more mature form of medical discourse, the degree to which this occurs is sporadic. The apparent absence of a relationship between discursive competencies and academic achievement may suggest that the ability of assessment to encourage the adoption of disciplinary discourse is perhaps not being optimally applied, although further research is required.
Identifying strategies to improve research publication output in health and rehabilitation sciences : a review of the literatureSource: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3, pp 7 –10 (2011)More Less
The health research community in South Africa annually produces a fair number of research papers in national and international health and related journals. Unfortunately, the proportion of papers produced by authors in health and rehabilitation sciences is insignificant compared with other disciplines. To identify strategies to increase the number of publications in South Africa, this article reports on a review of published papers into the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote research publications among academics and clinicians in health and rehabilitation sciences programmes. Seven of the papers reported on interventions for academics, and six reported on the interventions for academics in the nursing profession. The most common interventions were 'writing support groups', 'writing retreats', and 'writing courses' that lasted from 3 days to 5 years. The interventions were designed to meet the needs of the participants for structured time, motivation, improved writing skills and peer support. All the interventions produced significant research output relating to submission or publication of academic papers. The implementation of these interventions by South African tertiary institutions where health and rehabilitation sciences are offered may improve the number of papers published by the health research community.
Effects on quality of care and health care worker satisfaction of language training for health care workers in South AfricaAuthor Michael E. LevinSource: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3, pp 11 –14 (2011)More Less
Most research into medical communication has been in a Western setting. Communication between non-language-concordant health care workers (HCWs) and patients adversely affects patient and staff satisfaction. To the best of our knowledge, no intervention studies have been conducted in Africa.
Objective. To determine whether teaching Xhosa language skills and cultural understanding to HCWs affects patient satisfaction, HCWs' ability to communicate effectively with Xhosa-speaking patients and HCWs' job satisfaction levels.
Design and setting. A before-and-after interventional study was performed at two community health centres and a district hospital in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
Participants. Fifty-four randomly selected patients (27 pre and 27 postintervention) assessed communication with HCWs and rated their satisfaction.Six non-Xhosa-speaking HCW participants completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires.
Intervention. HCWs completed a ten week basic language course comprising ten 120 minute interactive contact sessions developing basic Xhosa speaking and listening skills and cultural competence.
Outcome measures. Questionnaires used a Likert scale to rate degrees of agreement or disagreement with statements. Patients assessed communication with HCWs, quality of care and rated their satisfaction. HCW questions were grouped according to themes, including ability to communicate, job satisfaction and staff interpersonal relationships.
Results. Patient satisfaction showed significant improvements. Patients perceived HCWs to be more understanding, respectful and concerned, and to show better listening skills, after the intervention. Patients were better able to understand HCWs and their instructions. HCWs' ability to communicate improved and HCWs experienced decreased frustration levels.
Conclusions. Teaching language skills and cultural sensitivity to non-Xhosa-speaking HCWs in South Africa improves ability to communicate, increases patient satisfaction and decreases misunderstandings and frustration.
Challenges and opportunities related to postgraduate evidence-based practice module using blended learningSource: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3, pp 15 –18 (2011)More Less
The use of information and communications technology (ICT) has become integral to health professions education worldwide. The incorporation of online facilities and maintaining of the face-to-face element make blended learning the 'best of both worlds'. Blogs can be used to create a relatively learner-centred environment that allows students to learn at their own pace. Though blended learning has been proved to be appropriate in higher learning institutions, it comes with challenges and opportunities. Our study intended to highlight the challenges and identify opportunities encountered by an evidence-based practice (EBP) postgraduate class who used the blended learning model of learning. An action-based research methodology was utilised in this study. This involved data gathering, action planning, action taking and action evaluation. Data were gathered through the use of a blog that was accessed by all participants. They made comments which were reflecting their perceptions on the model that was used for the course. The students gave consent to participate while permission from the physiotherapy head of department was also acquired. Deductive analysis was used for data analysis. The information from the blog was extracted and converted into text files. Coding and analysis into opportunities and challenges as expressed by the participants was performed. Theoretical saturation through every reviewer's agreement and satisfaction about the information was included. The data consisted of 94 postings made of primary postings (22) and responses (72). All the authors acted as reviewers. Certainty was achieved by discussing any ambiguity in coding. Any necessary amendments were made. The participants reported to have experienced some challenges pertaining to blended learning. The blog that was used as a media between students and the facilitator was inefficient in some way. Some students could not access it when required and some resources in the blog were inaccessible. The wireless internet connection mainly used in this model was not reliable. However, there were opportunities experienced by the learners. These included easy interaction between the learners and the facilitator at any time. The model also reduced instructor dependence and made the learners more responsible of their work. The blog appeared as a resource base for skills development. Timely feedback involving solving the problems students encountered during the course improved the communication skills between the students and the facilitator. However, technology constraints involving the blog and the internet connection were overwhelming among the students while writing up the tasks allocated to them. Despite the fact that students faced some challenges, facilitators of blended learning such as the interaction between the students and the facilitator of the course were motivating to keep the course interesting. While students experienced some opportunities about blended learning, its future rests on averting the challenges associated with it more, especially in developing countries. If the challenges reported would be addressed in developing countries, blended learning can be effective in building students' engagement and relieving of overcrowded classrooms in higher learning institutions.
Source: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3, pp 19 –23 (2011)More Less
Setting. When designing a medical curriculum, assumptions that are made about students' quantitative literacy (QL) competencies often lead to demands that students are unable to meet. In order to improve the match between the literacy demands of the curriculum and the literacy competencies of students, the demands need to be examined critically and the assumptions made explicit. Curriculum changes that reduce the articulation gap between demands and competencies are particularly important for broadening access and promoting success, in tertiary study, for students with disadvantaged educational backgrounds.
Objectives. The objectives of this study are to survey the QL implicitly and explicitly contained in a course curriculum, in a manner that could be useful for the following purposes:
- raising awareness in health science lecturers of the nature and extent of the QL demands of their course materials
- developing the theory relating to best practice for QL development in health sciences
- informing the design of QL interventions.
Results and conclusions. A range of examples is presented which illustrate that the implicit QL demands of this first-year course curriculum are substantial and varied.
Southern African FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI) Poster Day, Cape Town, March 2011 and SA Association of Health Educationalists (SAAHE) Conference, Johannesburg, July 2010 : abstractsSource: African Journal of Health Professions Education 3, pp 24 –25 (2011)More Less