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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


BRITS, H et al. #FeesMustFall2016: Perceived and measured effect on clinical medical students. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.7, pp.493-497. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Medical students are under immense academic stress. Campus unrest can contribute to stress and influence academic performance, social behaviour, emotional stability and financial expensesOBJECTIVES: To investigate the effects of #FeesMustFall2016 (#FMF2016) on the 2016 3rd-year (semester 6) clinical medical students at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein, South AfricaMETHODS: In phase 1 of the project, anonymous questionnaires were completed by the clinical students who experienced physical test disruption during #FMF2016. Opinions regarding academic performance, financial expenses, behaviour changes and stress levels were gathered. The students also completed a formal post-traumatic stress screening assessment. In phase 2 of the project, the academic performance of these students was compared with that of students not affected by #FMF2016RESULTS: Of the target population of 138 students, 87.0% completed the questionnaires. Three-quarters of the respondents reported a negative effect on academic performance, and most did not believe that the delivering of lectures on Blackboard was a good way of training. Alcohol consumption increased in 31.9% of the students. Criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were met in 12.7% of students. Compared with previous and later cohorts of students there were no clear differences regarding marks, but there was a tendency towards poorer performance and more failures the next yearCONCLUSIONS: Semester 6 medical students at UFS reported that the #FMF2016 protests had a negative effect on academic, social, financial and stress aspects. PTSD was present in 12.7% of students compared with 7.8% in similar populations

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