Conference

Physiotherapy at the SAAHE conference in Durban

The annual SAAHE conference is an important event in South African health professions education (HPE), and this years meeting was held in July in Durban. The conference was attended by several staff member from Physiotherapy, who all presented the results of their research in HPE.

Prof. Michael Rowe (Department of Physiotherapy) presented a series of reflections on the impending impact of artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making in clinical practice, and the subsequent implications for health professions educators. There was a follow up workshop where participants discussed these implications in more depth, as well as highlighted some of the potential lines of inquiry for future research directions.

Danelle Hess (Department of Physiotherapy) and Dr Ronel Maart (Faculty of Dentistry) presented a workshop with their SAFRI colleagues from the University of Pretoria (Corne Postma and Argentina Ingratta) on clinical supervision that aimed to develop patient-centred competence. The workshop focused on the kinds of feedback that supervisors should provide to students during workplace-based assessment activities that are common on clinical placement. The workshop was a wonderful example of what can emerge from the inter-institutional and -departmental collaborations that are so important in health professions education.

Prof. Nondwe Mlenzana (Department of Physiotherapy) presented her research that looked at the perceptions of undergraduate health professions students on the implementation of an inter-professional education module at a clinical site in the Western Cape. The study was important as it identified a mismatch in students’ perceptions of the purpose of the module, and the students articulated that they were poorly prepared for team work in the clinical context. The findings will help educators improve the implementation of IPE in the faculty.

In addition to staff members from the Department of Physiotherapy, the UWC CHS faculty was also well-represented, with colleagues from Dentistry, the School of Public Health, Child and Family Studies and our Teaching and Learning specialist all presenting their work at the conference. Finally, we should also note that the CHS Dean, Prof. Anthea Rhoda, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Prof. Jose Frantz, both physiotherapists and previous staff members in the department, also attended the conference.

All in all it was clear that the UWC Physiotherapy Department had a strong presence at the conference and made important intellectual contributions to the development of health professions education in the country.

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