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n Education as Change - Design, implementation and preliminary evaluation of an introductory service-learning elective for pharmacy students
Health promotion is an effective strategy to address the increasing global burden of noncommunicable diseases. A paradigm shift in pharmacy practice requires pharmacists to be more proactive in dealing with community health issues. In order to prepare pharmacy students for their changing role, a service-learning elective incorporating health promotion, was designed and implemented. This was to provide students the opportunity to achieve the critical cross-field outcomes to which Rhodes University aspires; and to empower the community with knowledge for the prevention and management of priority chronic health conditions in South Africa.
Under supervision, groups of final year pharmacy students researched these health conditions and designed interactive health promotion activities. These were presented at the 2007 Sasol National Festival of Science and Technology (SciFest). A cross-section of children and adults visited the exhibit. Feedback indicated that this interaction between students and the community was effective in raising awareness and providing information on certain health conditions. After SciFest, student perceptions of the elective were evaluated using the small group instructional diagnosis method. Students reported increased knowledge and the development of skills required by practising pharmacists.
Our preliminary conclusion is that the application of service-learning can and does contribute to the achievement of certain critical cross-field outcomes.
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