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​Department of Health Professions Education



Keep growing your teaching @ SU growing your teaching @ SUGerda Dullaart<p style="margin:0px;"><span style="margin:0px;color:#2f5597;font-size:14pt;">​​​​Keep growing your teaching @ SU</span></p> <font size="3"></font><font color="#000000"></font><font face="Times New Roman"></font> <font face="Calibri"></font><font size="3"></font><font color="#000000"></font><font face="Times New Roman"></font><br class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5"><table width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:100%;"><p style="margin:0px 0px 10.66px;line-height:normal;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5"><strong><span lang="EN-GB" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3">Teaching Fellowships</font></span></strong><strong><span style="margin:0px;"></span></strong></span></p><p style="margin:16px 0px 10.66px;line-height:normal;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5"><span lang="EN-GB" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3">The SU Teaching Fellowships provide excellent teachers and scholars of teaching and learning with the opportunity to spend more consistent periods of time, with various forms of support, to focus on aspects of curriculum renewal, the exploration of teaching and learning, and the dissemination of good teaching and learning practice in departments and faculties. More information about the 2021 Teaching Fellowships is available from Dr Karin Cattell-Holden, <span style="margin:0px;"><span style="margin:0px;"><a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span></span></a></span></span> or on the <a href="/english/learning-teaching/ctl/Pages/Teaching-Fellowships.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=e6f8bdc4-908c-4457-8587-920482ddc43e&TermId=818b21b6-648e-46c5-9b28-4b47058bcbe3" target="_blank"><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1">CTL Website</span>​</a>.</font></span></strong><br></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3"><br>The body of work developed by Dr Elize Archer of the CHPE resulting from her Teaching Fellowship (2017-2019) continues to grow.  She has recently been awarded with an Early Career Development grant (June 2020 - June 2021) based on her research about empathy in health professions and how it can be taught and learned. The impact of this body of work has been to empower several colleagues (and herself) to include the teaching of empathy in current curricula and to increase awareness about patient-centredness in the health system. </font></span></p><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3"> </font></span></p><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3">Elize has found in her research and teaching, that health professionals can be taught behavioural skills, but will probably not make sustained changes towards patient-centred health care until it resonates with their own world view. <span style="margin:0px;"> </span>Up to now most of her work was done with undergraduate students. She realised that, in order to influence students’ behaviour and thinking, it is important to understand the perspectives of the registrars (specialists in training), since they have a huge influence on the junior students' development. It is important to understand how they manage (in the very busy and complex health system) to navigate their patient interactions in terms of empathic communication. Her follow-up work will be investigating exactly this. </font></span></p><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3"> </font></span></p><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3">“The affordances that CTL provides have been instrumental in my development as an academic. As a new lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, I received FIRLT funds in 2008 for a project called <em>The use of simulated patient scenarios in the teaching of basic clinical procedural skills</em>. This helped me to start exploring the communication skills of medical students. Since then a lot has happened - but there is no doubt in my mind that this opportunity has helped me to get started!”</font></span></p><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3"> </font></span></p><p style="margin:0px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="margin:0px;"><font face="Calibri" size="3">Dr Archer received an <a href="/english/learning-teaching/ctl/Pages/SU-Institutional-Excellence-in-Teaching-and-Learning.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=deb9b656-e431-4748-967b-0abed9c19ffb&TermId=bc669dad-fd79-428c-8ba0-b4c2caa3c85d" target="_blank"><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>SU Teaching Excellence Award</strong></span> ​</a>in the “Developing Teacher” category in 2018. She also received a merit certificate for her Teaching Fellowship in 2019, acknowledging her contribution to the development of the scholarship of teaching and learning at SU. </font></span><br></p><p><br> </p>
Looking back on a richly diverse career back on a richly diverse careerJackie Pienaar-Brink<p>​When Prof Ben van Heerden looks back on his long career at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), one aspect stands out: His passion to establish new ideas and practices and then move on to the next challenge.<br></p><p>He initially wanted to settle in the countryside as a general practitioner, but eventually nuclear medicine, curriculum renewal and health professions education dominated his career.</p><p>Van Heerden, former Director of the MB,ChB Unit, matriculated from DF Malan High School in Bellville and studied medicine at Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p><strong>Nuclear medicine</strong></p><p>His career in nuclear medicine took off by chance, he recalls. </p><p>He met his wife Marieta, a nursing student, while studying medicine and they were married by the time he completed his degree in 1978. Marieta still had to complete two years of study and he obviously wanted to be at her side. Therefore, he agreed to complete the new Master's degree in Nuclear Medicine at the request of the then departmental head, Prof Hannes Klopper. The field was familiar to Van Heerden, because his father, Flip, used to be the Head of the very same department and he worked there as a school boy. But up to that point, he had never considered it as a career option.</p><p>He was surprised to find himself so interested in the field that he and a colleague set up a nuclear medicine department in Windhoek, Namibia, after he had completed his master's degree.</p><p>From 1989 to 1991 – after he was also awarded an MMed in Internal Medicine by SU – he became a postdoctoral fellow in nuclear medicine at Johns Hopkins University in the USA after having received a bursary from the Medical Research Council. He had hoped to establish positron-emission tomography (PET) in South Africa upon his return, but to his disappointment there was a lack of government funds.</p><p>Yet his time in America was by no means a waste of time. “I also practised general nuclear medicine and it was a phenomenal experience to work under Dr Henry Wagner, one of the fathers of nuclear medicine."</p><p><strong>Brain imaging unit</strong></p><p>Later he worked as a visiting consultant at KU Leuven in Belgium. “There I learnt a lot more about functional brain imaging, a technique that clearly shows the brain function changes in people with schizophrenia and depression, for example." He also assisted with the establishment of a brain imaging programme for epilepsy surgery. </p><p>He brought this expertise back to South Africa and established a functional brain imaging unit at Tygerberg.</p><p><strong>School of Medicine</strong></p><p>In 2001, his career path changed significantly when the Faculty was restructured into five schools. His decision to apply for the position as first Head of the School of Medicine was made easier by the fact that the brain imaging unit had already been well established by then.</p><p>In his new capacity Van Heerden was responsible for, among other things, the MB,ChB programme and the implementation of its brand new curriculum. In 2008 he had to manage a revised version of this curriculum. “This all helped me to achieve a reasonable level of expertise in terms of the development of curriculums and training materials," he says.</p><p>At the end of his five-year term, his career unexpectedly took off in a different direction. When a new rector was appointed at SU, the management structure of the FMHS was reorganised according to the main functions of the university and the five schools were dissolved. </p><p><strong>Health professions education and the MB,ChB programme </strong></p><p>What started as an idea – namely a centre for health professions education – now became a reality, with Van Heerden as its first Director. “At that stage, the way people were being trained in health professions was evolving into a discipline globally," he explains the purpose of the centre.</p><p>Although the centre had small beginnings, it had a clear vision. “We wanted to develop an academic centre where research could be done and we introduced a degree course early on. It was later expanded into a PhD."</p><p>Van Heerden also still managed the MB,ChB programme. By 2015, this component was removed from the centre due to fears that it would be seen as the real focus, whereas the centre is aimed at all health professions.</p><p>“I decided it was time to introduce new blood and made way for my deputy, the educationist Prof Susan van Schalkwyk," Van Heerden explains his decision to focus exclusively on the MB,ChB programme.</p><p>A career highlight was undoubtedly when he discovered his love for education, says the man with more than 100 presentations worldwide and 44 published peer-reviewed articles under his belt.</p><p><strong>A proud legacy</strong></p><p>Van Heerden and his wife live in Boston, Bellville, and have two daughters, Alet and Daphne.</p><p>He remembers the long hours he had to work over the years. Once Alet even asked her mom when Dad would visit them again. “It was tough, but I think we maintained a fairly good balance. Somewhere along the way we planted a seed, because both our daughters went on to study medicine at Stellenbosch."</p><p>Van Heerden speaks with great compassion about Alet's husband Shaun, who lives with cystic fibrosis, his successful lung transplant, and the memorable moment when the couple's two daughters were born after successful in vitro fertilisation treatment.</p><p>After years of hard work, Van Heerden's retirement is beckoning.</p><p>How does he feel about retirement?</p><p>He lowers his head. “It's a difficult question." Then: “You know, I gave what I could. I'm looking forward to my retirement, but I'm also a little nervous about how I will keep busy."</p><p>Fortunately he loves reading, especially non-fiction, and he's a keen photographer. He and his wife like travelling and their favourite holiday destinations are England and Scotland. They also plan to explore large parts of South Africa. </p><p>Cooking is another passion he shares with his wife. “I'm fond of exotic and spicy food and love to experiment with Moroccan and Eastern dishes," he says.</p><p>He is very positive about the future of the FMHS for several reasons.</p><p>“Over the years, we positioned ourselves well within the socio-political context of the country. When I was appointed as the Head of the School of Medicine in 2001, we intentionally adjusted the selection processes to make better provision for students from previously excluded groups. The student body was 90% white at the time and it now consists of 70% black, coloured and Indian students."</p><p>It was a well-planned process, he emphasises, and always based on merit. </p><p>“This is reflected in the success rate of our students."</p><p>The Faculty has also advanced considerably in terms of health professions education, more than other faculties in the country, he says with obvious pride.</p><p>He believes passionately that the radically new curriculum being developed for medicine will showcase how modern education techniques can be used to train medical professionals. “There will be a focus on the key diseases that practitioners in South Africa encounter every day."</p><p>And he is excited about the developments in the field of basic sciences. “The new facility that will be built for basic sciences will bring us on par with the best in the world."<br></p><p><br></p><p><em>Photo credit: Damien Schumann</em><br></p>
Meet the Teaching Excellence Award winner from FMHS the Teaching Excellence Award winner from FMHSAsiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​​Dr Karin Baatjes, a lecturer from Stellenbosch University's (SU) Departments of Biomedical and Surgical Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), shares details about her teaching career after being awarded a Developing Teacher's award for 2019.<br></p><p>Launched in 2017, the the Stellenbosch University Teaching Excellence Awards acknowledge lecturers in two categories, 'Distinguished Teacher' and 'Developing Teacher', based on their experience and leadership in the scholarship of teaching and learning.</p><p>Applicants had to submit a portfolio that demonstrated their reflection on and evidence of four main components: context, students, knowledge and professional growth. They also had to indicate the lessons they had learnt on their journey to becoming excellent teachers.</p><p><strong>Why did you choose teaching as a career?</strong></p><p>Teaching is not my career, but it forms an integral part of my clinical practice as surgeon. It is a natural part of my work in a teaching hospital</p><p><strong>How long have you been teaching?</strong></p><p> I have been teaching for 19 years.</p><p><strong>What have been some of your career highlights?</strong></p><p>Completing the MMed and PhD in Surgery stands out as some of my career highlights. </p><p><strong>What have been some of the biggest career challenges? </strong></p><p>Balancing academic career pursuits, clinical service delivery and personal life.</p><p><strong>Why did you enter into this award?</strong></p><p>I saw the compilation of the teaching portfolio as a means to reflect on my teaching practice and to gain insights into where I should improve upon.</p><p><strong>What does it mean to win the Developing Teacher award?</strong></p><p>It is a great honour and marks recognition by peers and seniors of the efforts that one puts in towards improvement of graduates and health care.</p><p><strong>What impact will this award have on your teaching career going forward?</strong></p><p> The award serves as a boost to enhance my growth and development in the educational sphere.</p><p><strong>When you are not busy teaching, what are some of your favourites hobbies and why? </strong></p><p>I spend time with my family and I am a social runner.</p><p><strong>What do you hope to impart to students that you teach?</strong></p><p>I wish to impart more than just theoretical knowledge, I wish for students to recognise in my behaviour, an example of the demeanour and conduct of a medical professional.</p><p><strong>Where do you see yourself in the next five years?</strong></p><p>I am hoping to establish a well-functioning division in the next five years and to see expansion in terms of capacity of the team as well as new research endeavours.</p><p><strong>*The above-mentioned candidate will receive her award during a ceremony at the end of the fourth quarter.</strong></p><p>For more information about the Teaching Excellence Awards, contact Dr Karin Cattell-Holden at or 021 808 3074.</p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Popular article on medical education wins award article on medical education wins awardJackie Pienaar-Brink<p>​An article published by two colleagues at the Centre for Health Professions Education (CHPE) in the <em>Medical Education</em>, earned them the Henry Walton Award.</p><p>That means that the particular article was só popular that during 2018 it was the most downloaded article on a monthly basis in this journal's two categories.</p><p>Twice a year the <em>Medical Educator</em> allows shorter articles to be loaded in the addendum “Really Good Stuff: lessons learned from innovation in Medical Education". The news that Dr Elize Archer and Ms Ilse Meyer's article was the most downloaded one in this category over a one-year period, was officially announced at the beginning of July at the annual congress of the Association for the Study of Medical Education in Glasgow, Scotland.</p><p>“Even though international educators are ahead of us in certain fields, this award shows us that our work in South Africa is sufficiently innovative to attract a large number of readers. This is a major accolade for us," said Archer, head of the Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit (SCSU) at the CHPE.</p><p>Archer and Meyer, a research assistant at the CHPE, based the article <a href=""><em>Teaching empathy to undergraduate medical students: 'One glove does not fit all</em></a><em>' </em>on the findings of their research study among third-year medical students at the Tygerberg Campus. This was aimed at a teaching intervention that was made possible thanks to a fellowship which the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the Stellenbosch University awarded Archer for the period 2017-2019.</p><p>This intervention forms part of the medical students' clinical skills curriculum and has the development of empathetic communication skills as its goal – something medical schools strive for worldwide, as there are indications that empathy levels become reduced as medical students progress with their studies.</p><p>“In light of the debate about whether it is at all possible to teach people how to have empathy, it was already a challenge," says Archer. “It took a lot of effort to determine what the components were of what we thought students could learn in this regard."</p><p>She explains that with clinical empathy they differentiate between the emotional or affective component and the cognitive component. The cognitive component consists of skills that can be taught to anyone. “By means of an investigation of the broad literature we managed to identify several learning activities which would serve as an intervention during the clinical rotation of the third year students."</p><p>It takes place in small groups in the SCSU and attention is paid to listening skills, awareness and interaction with a simulated patient. There is also a learning activity which students must complete online on SUNLEARN in their own time.<br></p><p>For the research study students were asked how they experienced these learning sessions.<br></p><p>Many students said they had found the vulnerability, an essential component of empathy, disturbing. They nevertheless said that they found the focused attention, which accompanies working in small groups, valuable, as they did the individual feedback they received."</p><p>“We could not really determine which of the range of activities was good and which bad," says Archer. “The one student would prefer XYZ, but another one's experience would be exactly the opposite.</p><p>“From the feedback we received, our chief conclusion was that this was not a one-size-fits-all. It is true that people are different, not just patients, but also lecturers and students. And because the feedback from the students on the different activities was so different, we realised that it was important to use a range of learning and teaching strategies when such initiatives were implemented."</p><p><br></p><p><em>Caption: Ms Ilse Meyer​ and Dr Elize Archer.</em></p>
Dynamite comes in small packages comes in small packagesMarguerite van Wyk<p>​​You shouldn't let her delicate hands and petite stature fool you.<br></p><p>Dr Karin Baatjes' impressive title as Head of the Division of Anatomy and Histology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch, attests to her dynamism, hard work and intellect.</p><p>She saves lives, trains students and doctors and is a researcher of note.</p><p>Baatjes also has a heart for charity. For instance, she ran a marathon (42.2 km) and raised R53 000 for Reach for Recovery's Ditto project, a breast cancer support organisation. She is also involved in the Tygerberg campus' pantry project. “We collect non-perishable foods and hygienic products every month for students who struggle financially. </p><p>“I am also involved in a lot of work for Project Flamingo. It involves surgeons performing additional breast cancer operations every second month on Saturdays, thereby shortening waiting times at Tygerberg and Groote Schuur Hospitals. I want to make a difference where I can," she explains. </p><p>WORK ETHIC</p><p>She feels she has led a blessed life, with her parents paying for her studies. “I want to give back."</p><p>Her dad, Fred, died in 2000 and mom Evelyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Her mother's diagnosis hit her hard. She had just qualified as a surgeon and soon realised it was completely different to be a surgeon for others than to treat your own mother. Evelyn turned 80 on 15 August last year and it was a joyous occasion. </p><p>Baatjes had dreamed of becoming a physiotherapist when she was at high school in Kraaifontein. “I liked the link with sport and to work with one's hands. Just like in surgery." But she has no qualms about her career choice.</p><p>“There are so many branches in breast cancer treatment. You have to look at factors like inheritance and operation techniques, but also metabolism, that is linked to genetic factors," she explains. </p><p>She was awarded her doctorate at the end of 2018. Her thesis examined bone health in post-menopausal women who had been treated with a specific anti-oestrogen medication. </p><p>She still finds the world of anatomy fairly new and exciting. “It offers growth and development, because I can still learn so much." </p><p>She admits finding it difficult to keep all the balls in the air. “Sometimes I feel as if the demands are increasing all the time. But I also often work during my free time and I don't procrastinate. I try to be organised and, for instance, prepare my lunches for the rest of the week on Sundays." </p><p>Self-care is important and is the way she handles stress. She makes time for relaxation whenever possible. “Then I cook and spend time with friends and family and we play board games." She jogs to handle her worries and reload her body and soul with happiness hormones (endorphins). And those hands that wield the scalpel so securely, can even prepare home-made jam and chutney. It is a hobby she recently mastered. </p><p>She reckons she inherited her work ethic from both parents. Karin is the youngest of five siblings. “My father was a school principal and my mother a teacher. I strive to honour their legacy through service to my fellow man.</p><p>I admire people who work effectively under stress and continue to overcome challenges."</p><p>She has always worked hard. Relaxing was a luxury. “I had no choice but to focus." In 2000 she was the only female clinical surgical assistant. In her world gender doesn't count, only efficiency. Therefore, she didn't experience overt gender discrimination, says Baatjes. </p><p>A HEART FOR OTHERS</p><p>Baatjes reckons one of the most significant tendencies being predicted in the treatment of breast cancer is “a programme being designed to fit a specific patient's cancer – personal medication or individual care". </p><p>She is fulfilled when she can help other people – either as a doctor, or with training, research or charity work. “During my life course people have helped me continuously.</p><p>To play my part is like being of service as a deacon in the church." </p><p>But she believes everybody can do charity work. “Even if it is only to point out to others that some people need help. You can always donate your time." </p><p>She doesn't want to be praised. A simple “thank you" is enough. </p><p>“To see a patient's face light up after a successful operation – that is my biggest motivation."</p><p> </p><p><em>Photo credit: Damien Schumann</em><br><br></p>
SU celebrates teaching excellence of Archer and Decloedt celebrates teaching excellence of Archer and DecloedtBirgit Ottermann<p>​Two senior lecturers from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) have been recognised for their excellence in teaching and learning at Stellenbosch University's (SU) Teaching and Research Excellence Awards ceremony.<br></p><p>The ceremony took place at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) on 4 December 2018. </p><p>Dr Elize Archer, head of the Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit at the Centre for Health Professions Education (CHPE), and Dr Eric Decloedt, coordinator of clinical pharmacology teaching in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, each received a teaching excellence award in the category “Developing Teacher", worth R25 000. </p><p>The awards were instituted in 2017 to acknowledge excellent teaching and learning in higher education and offer an opportunity to value reflective and contextually aware teaching. Lecturers are recognised in one of two categories: 1) The “Developing Teacher" award for staff with experience of three to ten years of teaching and learning, or 2) the “Distinguished Teacher" award for staff with experience of 10 or more years. </p><p>Applicants are required to submit a portfolio that demonstrates their reflection on and evidence of four main components: context, students, knowledge and professional growth. They are also required to share the lessons they learned on their journey to becoming excellent teachers.     </p><p><strong>Dr Elize Archer</strong> </p><p>“I am very grateful for the recognition, as there are many other good teachers at Stellenbosch University," Archer said in reaction to her award. </p><p>“Putting together my portfolio as part of my award application took a lot of effort. In order to show that you're a good teacher, you need to provide evidence – so, I am extra happy that the hard work paid off! Receiving such recognition really motivates one to do more and better. I hope it will encourage other lecturers to apply in the future."</p><p>Archer, who has a background in critical care nursing and training, joined SU in 2005 as head of the Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit at the CHPE, and was subsequently appointed as a senior lecturer in 2015.</p><p>"I wear two hats regarding my current teaching role: On the one hand, I teach patient-centred communication skills to undergraduate MB,ChB students, and I coordinate and teach our master's degree in the health professions education programme. On the other hand, I am involved in faculty development in the CHPE, where we aim to equip lecturers to become more effective facilitators of learning.</p><p>“What I really like about teaching is to see how students grow and develop during their study years. You really get to know the person behind the student."</p><p>In 2016, Archer obtained a PhD in health professions education that focused on teaching and learning of patient-centredness in undergraduate medical students. Subsequently, in 2017, she was awarded a three-year fellowship by the SU's Centre for Teaching and Learning, which allows her to spend some dedicated time on the development of a teaching intervention that is focused on empathic communication skills in undergraduate medical students.  </p><p>“I am very fortunate to work for an institution that rewards and acknowledges good teaching," says Archer.</p><p><strong>Dr Eric Decloedt</strong></p><p>“It is a great honour to be recognised for my passion for teaching," Decloedt said in reaction to his award. </p><p>“This award acknowledges teaching as an important part of being an academic scholar and encourages teaching excellence. It also recognises the importance and value of clinical pharmacology in the MB,ChB curriculum."</p><p>It is not the first time that Decloedt has been recognised for his outstanding teaching skills. In 2016, he was named “Educator of the Year" by the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (SASBCP) in recognition of his contributions to excellence, expertise and demonstrable achievement in pharmacology education. </p><p>Decloedt, who has been teaching clinical pharmacology to undergraduates and registrars training in clinical pharmacology since 2012, says one of his biggest challenges was to make pharmacology (which was traditionally taught as a fact-heavy subject) clinically relevant to students working in the South African context, and to maintain engagement with students despite increasingly large classes.</p><p>“My primary teaching goal is to foster the essential skill among medical graduates to rationally prescribe medicine. I feel strongly that SU medical graduates should be equipped to work in any healthcare facility in South Africa."</p><p>Decloedt loves the interaction with students, including their sharp-witted responses in more light-hearted moments. “Students bring such a tapestry of experience and knowledge into the classroom, and I constantly learn from them."</p><p>He encourages other lecturers to make use of the excellent resources provided by SU's Centre for Teaching and Learning: “Many of my initiatives were inspired by learning from others. Be prepared to learn by trial and error based on the critique from students and peers. Students care about how much you care, not about how much you know. Don't forget, you once were an undergraduate student too – in fact, we all are students on our life journey."​</p><p><em><br></em></p><p><em>Caption: Drs Elize Archer and Eric Decloedt with FMHS Vice Dean: Learning and Teaching, Prof Julia Blitz.</em></p>
Prof Van Schalkwyk honoured for excellence in teaching and learning Van Schalkwyk honoured for excellence in teaching and learningWilma Stassen<p>​​A prestigious national award was presented to Prof Susan van Schalkwyk for the contribution she has made to the field of teaching and learning in higher education.<br></p><p>Van Schalkwyk, who is the director of the Centre for Health Professions Education (CHPE) at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, recently received the National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award presented by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).</p><p>Her selection for the award is a great achievement, HELTASA's Dr Rejoice Nsibande said in a letter of confirmation to Van Schalkwyk. “We hope that you [Van Schalkwyk] will be able to serve as a role model and leader in teaching excellence, both at your institution and in the higher education sector in South Africa," Nsibande's letter reads. The award was recently presented at the annual HELTASA conference and recognises excellence and leadership in teaching and learning in higher education.</p><p>“Receiving the award within the CHPE is a wonderful privilege and affirmation of our work," said Van Schalkwyk. According to her, the award gives voice to SU's new teaching and learning policy (2018), which speaks directly to strengthening the scholarship of teaching and learning and recognizes the professionalization of academics in their teaching roles.</p><p>Van Schalkwyk said that although she was “humbled and grateful" for being selected for the award, she also felt conflicted, as the success she has achieved throughout her career was made possible by the support and assistance of colleagues, family and friends. “I dedicate this award to all my wonderful colleagues in the CHPE, FMHS, SU's Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Health Professions Education community of scholars around the world with whom I work," she said. </p><p>To be considered for the award, candidates have to be nominated by their universities to submit a portfolio containing reflections of their career in teaching and learning. </p><p>“SU's review committee regarded Van Schalkwyk's portfolio as impressive," said Ms Jean Lee Farmer, a CTL advisor. “The portfolio provided extensive evidence of her leadership in teaching and learning and her related research. Both her teaching and research are underpinned by solid theoretical knowledge and deep critical reflection on her practice as an educationist. She engages with higher education in a scholarly manner and clearly has the enhancing of the science of higher education as her goal. Van Schalkwyk's portfolio illustrates the complexity of teaching in higher education and of the being and becoming of an educationist in this context."</p><p>In 2015, Van Schalkwyk obtained a C3 rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF), and was appointed as SU's first full professor in Health Professions Education in 2016. In 2017, she received the SU Teaching Excellence Award. </p><p>To date Van Schalkwyk has published 50 peer-reviewed articles and nine book chapters, and has presented her research at 27 national and 21 international conferences, workshops or symposia. She is also a member of the Bellagio Global Health Education Initiative (a worldwide collaboration seeking to develop curriculum for global health challenges) and serves on the editorial board of various academic journals in her field of study. </p><p> </p>
#WomenofSU: Teaching bedside manners Teaching bedside mannersJackie Pienaar-Brink<p style="text-align:justify;">​​​​​The acquisition of communication skills will probably occupy an increasingly important position in the medical curriculum of Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> Thanks to an SU teaching fellowship, Dr Elize Archer of the Centre of Health Professions Education (CHPE) at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) will look at ways of incorporating this into the curriculum over the next three years. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the end of 2016, Archer obtained the first doctorate for the CHPE, which was founded in 2006. Furthermore, she was one of only 14 doctoral graduates worldwide who was chosen to present her findings at the annual conference of the Association for Medical Education in Europe in Helsinki, Finland. This event is attended by representatives from approximately 90 countries. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For her doctorate, Archer focused on ways in which patient-centredness is learnt in a medical curriculum.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Holistic care has always been important to me," says Archer, who comes from a nursing background. She was previously involved in intensive-care training in the private sector, and subsequently she helped to structure the medical curriculum of the Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit at the FMHS. The greater her involvement became in health professions education internationally, the more she became interested in the concept of patient-centredness – hence the topic of her doctoral study. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to her, literature has shown that the communication skills of medical students often decline as they proceed with their training. Some of them become cynical over time, suffer from burnout or gradually lose empathy. Even though much has been published internationally on this issue, no similar local study has specifically focused on medical studies.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her investigative study, Archer involved 60 sixth-year medical students in focus groups of 6 to 8, as well as a few specialists. "I really don’t want to suggest for one moment that medicine is the only scapegoat when it comes to cynicism and poor communication skills," she emphasises. "It's a disease found in all medical professions."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">For the purposes of her study, Archer divided patient-centredness into two components, namely “caring” and “sharing”. According to her, caring doesn’t only mean that a doctor is listening, but also that patients feel they are heard. “Sharing” points to a shared responsibility. “The patient must be informed, must understand what the condition and/or the treatment involves, and must take ownership of it.” It is actually a paradigm shift in many situations, says Archer, and it requires certain skills on the part of the doctor to conduct this conversation. “But in the end, my study showed that our medical students are not well equipped for this.” </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Many factors play a role, including personality, selection criteria, and a complex clinical setting which is not really conducive to patient-centredness. “What do you do when, for instance, you realise you have to spend time with a patient, but as a result you are making things worse for the 60 still waiting in the corridor?” </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Furthermore, some students study medicine for the wrong reasons, Archer says frankly. “During the past couple of years many students have told me that they like understanding the human body, that they want to figure out what is wrong with someone, but that they are not interested in hearing about the patient’s daily problems.” </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ironically enough, research shows that the more empathy shown by someone, the more likely that person is to suffer from burnout. That is why some medical students cut themselves off, and in the process may appear emotionally blunted. “But this isn’t fair to the patient or to the medical student,” Archer emphasises. “That is why I and a few other role players are currently investigating whether we can teach them concrete skills, including self-awareness. You have to be able to look after yourself in order to care for others.” </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This component does, in fact, receive attention from the first year of study, but becomes neglected in later years when clinical training increases. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Another important aspect is role modelling and norms. “The seniors don’t realise what an incredibly important role they play in this,” says Archer. “That is why a curriculum that is adapted to empower students should go hand-in-hand with staff development. The lecturers must be made aware of their role, and they need to consciously set an example.” </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Using simulated patients is one way in which the challenge of assessing communication skills is dealt with internationally. It involves the training of paid volunteers to play the role of a specific patient, for example a diabetic. Based on students’ interaction with these “patients”, the volunteers themselves, or the lecturers who are observing, can provide feedback to the students. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Even though communication is mostly regarded as a soft skill, Archer regards its inclusion in the curriculum as non-negotiable. “The public not only requires more knowledge and skills from doctors, but also the right attitude.” <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Caption: Dr Elize Archer</em><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Damien Schumann</em><br></p>
SU researchers present PhDs on global stage researchers present PhDs on global stageLiezel Engelbrecht<p>​​Clinical competence and physiological knowledge alone do not make good doctors. Two postdoctoral staff members at the Centre for Health Professions Education (CHPE) at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will be sharing their research on this issue on an international platform.<br></p><p>Drs Lakshini McNamee and Elize Archer are both involved in researching Health Professions Education and have been selected as two of only 14 doctoral graduates to present their work at the prestigious Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Conference in Helsinki in August. AMEE is an annual event that brings together delegates from some 90 countries around various topics in this field.</p><p>Archer's research focusses on patient-centeredness and provides insight into the teaching and learning of this skill.</p><p>"Communication skills, often called 'soft skills', need to be relooked and perhaps renamed 'hard skills', since it's essential for both patient satisfaction and the healthcare practitioner's wellbeing and job satisfaction," she explains.</p><p>"Evidence suggests that with the development of science and treatment options, doctors tend to become fixated on the biomedical aspects of disease and often neglect the patient as a human being. Studies also report that students become less patient-centered between entering and finishing medical school." Archer says this is reason for concern when considering the undergraduate medical curriculum as well as services rendered to patients.</p><p>Her goal is to be involved in curriculum and Faculty development initiatives around communication skills. "I'd appreciate the opportunity to be able to work with lecturers to utilise 'role modelling' as a deliberate teaching strategy, while at the same time encouraging students to adopt a reflective approach when deciding which role model behaviours are worthy of imitating."</p><p>McNamee also has a keen personal interest in developing "good" doctors. She will be presenting her study about medical internship experiences of newly qualified doctors (NQDs) in South Africa at the conference, focussing on how novice practitioners negotiate their learning and identities as practitioners.</p><p>"Healthcare systems depend on NQDs to provide a service, especially in the public sector, but little is theorised about their lived experience," she explains.</p><p>Her study explores the networks of relationships, both interpersonal and with various organisations, which play a key role in shaping how medical interns learn and self-identify.</p><p>By presenting her work at AMEE and disseminating her study findings, she hopes to enable a better approach towards the organisation of medical internship. "Mutual recognition is needed between NQDs and managers of health care systems in order to achieve this goal."</p><p>McNamee and Archer are both excited to attend the AMEE conference. "It's a tremendous opportunity to meet educators and researchers with similar interests, particularly those who recognise the value of using research methods from human and social sciences in medical education," says McNamee.</p><p>Archer agrees. "Because the competition is so strong, I have only been able to present posters in the past. To have an opportunity to present a PhD report orally is a huge privilege. I hope to establish more contacts and perhaps identify individuals with whom I can collaborate in future."</p><p>Caption: The CHPE's Drs Lakshini McNamee and Elize Archer will present their doctoral research at the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Conference in Helsinki in August.</p>
FMHS excels at teaching and learning conference excels at teaching and learning conferenceWilma Stassen<p>​​The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) made its mark at Stellenbosch University's recent conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning held in Somerset West. <br></p><p>Nearly a quarter (22%) of the papers submitted to the conference were first authored by members of the FMHS, and focused on a variety of aspects in health professions education. </p><p>Three of the six abstracts that were shortlisted originated from the FMHS. These are:</p><ol><li><em>A practice-based approach to interprofessional education </em>by Jana Muller and Helta Jordaan. </li><li><em>Implementation of an integrated ePortfolio</em> by Mariette Volschenk.</li><li><em>Towards an evidence-based framework for clinical training on a rural platform </em>coauthored by Susan van Schalkwyk; Julia Blitz; Hoffie Conradie; Therese Fish; Norma Kok; Ben van Heerden and Marietjie de Villiers. </li></ol><p>The presentation by Van Schalkwyk <em>et al</em>. won the overall award for best research-based presentation at the conference.</p><p>Photo: Profs Arnold Schoonwinkel, Susan van Schalkwyk, Julia Blitz and Dr Antoinette van der Merwe.</p>