SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
ENS, Carla D L et al. Postgraduate palliative care education: evaluation of a South African programme. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2011, vol.101, n.1, pp. 42-44. ISSN 2078-5135.
AIM: We aimed to assess the postgraduate palliative care distance education programme of the University of Cape Town (UCT) in terms of its perceived ability to influence palliative care delivery. METHODS: A mixed-methods approach, consisting of two surveys using open-ended and multiple-choice options, was conducted from January to December 2007 at the UCT School of Public Health and Family Medicine. All students registered in the programme from 2000 - 2007 were invited to participate; 83 (66.4% of all eligible participants) completed the general survey, and 41 (65.7%) of the programme’s graduates completed the graduate survey. The survey scores and open-ended data were triangulated to evaluate UCT’s palliative care postgraduate programme. RESULTS: General survey scores of graduates were significantly higher in 5 of the 6 categories in comparison with current students. The graduate survey indicated that curriculum and teaching strengths were in communication and dealing with challenging encounters. Graduates also stressed the need to develop a curriculum that incorporated a practical component. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to current postgraduate training, palliative care education in South Africa should be extended to undergraduate medical students, as the benefits of UCT’s programme were limited to a small cohort of practitioners.