Original Research

Evaluating the new family medicine internship programmes in the Western Cape, South Africa

Lauren N. Hutton, Louis S. Jenkins, Robert Mash, Klaus von Pressentin, Steve Reid, Jennie Morgan, Paul Kapp
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 2| a5837 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5837 | © 2024 Lauren N. Hutton, Louis S. Jenkins, Robert Mash, Klaus von Pressentin, Steve Reid, Jennie Morgan, Paul Kapp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 September 2023 | Published: 10 May 2024

About the author(s)

Lauren N. Hutton, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and Knysna Hospital, Garden Route District, Western Cape Department of Health, Knysna, South Africa
Louis S. Jenkins, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Primary Health Care Directorate, Department of Family, Community and Emergency Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; and George Hospital, Garden Route District, Western Cape Department of Health, George, South Africa
Robert Mash, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Klaus von Pressentin, Department of Family, Community and Emergency Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Steve Reid, Primary Health Care Directorate, Department of Family, Community and Emergency Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Jennie Morgan, Department of Family, Community and Emergency Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Paul Kapp, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and Knysna Hospital, Garden Route District, Western Cape Department of Health, Knysna, South Africa

Abstract

Background: In 2021, South Africa introduced a new 6-month internship in family medicine and primary care. This study aimed to assess the new rotation at district health facilities in the Western Cape.

Methods: A descriptive survey of interns and supervisors, as phase-two of an exploratory sequential mixed methods study. Questionnaires were developed from a descriptive exploratory qualitative study. Data were analysed with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

Results: Questionnaires were completed by 72 interns (response rate 21%) and 36 supervisors (response rate 90%), across 10 training programmes. Interns felt more independent (97.2%), confident (90.3%) and resilient (91.6%). They learnt to manage undifferentiated and chronic conditions (91.6%), to refer patients (94.3%) and conduct procedures (77.8%). Most interns were not exposed to community-based services (68.0%) and continuity of care (54.1%). Supervision was mostly adequate during the day (79.1%) and afterhours (80.6%). Many interns reported no structured teaching programme (41.7% – 55.6%). Most supervision was from medical officers and registrars. Supervisors saw interns as valuable members of the clinical team (100.0%), who required extra support and administration (42.5%). The majority of interns (75.0%) and supervisors (72.7%) thought the rotation was the right length and the best preparation for community service (67.6%).

Conclusion: The rotation met most expectations of the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Programmes need to improve exposure to community-orientated primary care, public health medicine, palliative and ongoing care. Supervision and orientation of interns needs improvement.

Contribution: This is the first evaluation of the new family medicine internship programme in South Africa.


Keywords

interns; internship; family medicine; primary care; primary health care; clinical training; medical education.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

Metrics

Total abstract views: 226
Total article views: 96


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.