oa South African Family Practice - Medical student participation in community-based experiential learning : reflections from first exposure to making the diagnosis : original research

Volume 53, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Fifth-year medical students from the University of Pretoria participated in a four-week rotation in the primary care clinics of a large metropolitan centre. An academic service-learning (ASL) approach was introduced into this rotation to improve the integration of theoretical learning and clinical practice through relevant community service and structured reflection.

Students wrote semi-structured reflective journals as a means to gaining greater insight into their learning experiences. These reflections were analysed qualitatively with a view to improving the community-based curriculum.
Four major themes were identified: expectations and the reality of primary care; service and learning; becoming a doctor; and making a difference.
While students gained a deeper insight into their development as clinicians, using an ASL approach also assisted the faculty in making an informed educational diagnosis of the curriculum.

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