oa South African Family Practice - Anaesthesia training for interns at a metropolitan training complex : does it make the grade? : research

Volume 56, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Most anaesthesia-related mortality that occurs in level 1 hospitals in South Africa is avoidable. Improving training during internship, and consequently the skills of community service officers, could lead to safer anaesthesia practices.

The objectives of the study were to determine whether or not the timing of the anaesthesia rotation during internship and other factors affected the outcome of the assessment at the end of the anaesthesia rotation, and to compare the perceptions of first- and second-year interns regarding their confidence levels at the end of their rotation.
We conducted a retrospective study that compared 298 intern assessments over a three-year period. It included the assessment of interns by senior doctors in respect of three cases, an overall assessment of the interns' performance, and the number of cases carried out by them. In addition, a questionnaire was used to assess the interns' confidence levels at the end of the rotation.
Little variation in the results was evident across comparisons of the year of internship, gender and age. Comparison according to university showed a slight variation. A wide variation in the number of obstetric cases (range 5-58) and endotracheal intubations (range 6-54) was observed. Over 80% of interns, regardless of the year, were confident enough to administer general anaesthesia and perform an endotracheal intubation. However, this perception of confidence by interns did not relate to the assessment of their competence.
The variance in the ability of interns to perform anaesthesia could not be accounted for by the training year, institution of undergraduate study, age or gender. It is likely that the assessment technique used did not provide a true reflection of the acquired skills or longevity of knowledge by interns. Further research in this area is recommended.

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