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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


VAN VUUREN, Santie  and  NEL, Mariette. A Clinical Skills Unit: Addressing the need for Continued Professional Development (CPD) in Allied Health Professions. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2013, vol.43, n.3, pp.41-46. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) monitors compulsory continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure that healthcare professionals update their knowledge and skills to the benefit of their clients. One of the objectives of the Clinical Skills Unit (CSU) in the School for Allied Health Professions at the University of the Free State (UFS) was to use it for CPD as part of a responsibility towards alumni. This study investigated the needs of qualified dieticians (DT), occupational therapists (OT) and physiotherapists (PT) to assist in the provision of relevant CPD activities at the Unit. METHODS: A descriptive, comparative study was conducted. Two hundred and fifty-eight questionnaires were distributed in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces, to members of the professional groups mentioned above. To ensure reliability, 10% of the sample was re-tested after one month. RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-seven professionals responded to the questionnaire, with 55.6% being from the Free State. CPD activities were attended in Bloemfontein by 65.9%. Most of the CPD activities (70.6%) attended prior to the study were theoretical in nature and 85% of respondents would have prefered to observe experts and learn by doing. Differences between the groups were significant for some of the questions, for example, dieticians preferred a large group didactic approach while the other professional groups prefered to observe experts and be involved in the learning process. All the professionals prefered CPD activities to be presented by an expert in their specific field of practise. CONCLUSIONS: Taking into consideration the views of professionals and the results of international studies, the CSU at the UFS will be able to address the CPD needs of allied health professionals in the Free State and Northern Cape.

Keywords : clinical skills unit; continued professional development; allied health professions.

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