Tour of Student Field Placements- I
Some of my best times in
For the past several years, the university has made the field placements multidisciplinary so the medical students have been joined by laboratory science, nursing and most recently pharmacy students.
I started staying for days and even weeks at a time with students at one of the sites where the health workers for our project are also trained as there is accommodation for trainers. When we were doing interactive training in Child Health, we would include the students in some of the sessions. Three of the Level IV health centers used as field sites for students had groups of the community health workers I help to train attached, so I was able to spend some time at each of the three sites. It helped that our child health project had an interest in developing a way for students to learn about and to appreciate the work of community health workers. Some of us also felt that involvement with the student teaching at the health center was a way to improve the quality of service provided in rural health centers.
The Dean, Associate Dean and the Head of Community Medical Education have been actively involved in and committed to improving the field experience and using as a way to influence future practitioners, coming up with the idea of involving field preceptors, providing leadership training and revising the curriculum.
It isn’t always possible to combine my visits to
The response from the students has been very positive. One group said they all wanted to do community medicine after the week. I had to assure them that that wasn’t my intent and I would be happy if in whatever field they chose, they took a more preventive and community approach. Some of the success of these interactive sessions is likely due to the contrast it provides to their past exposure to rote learning and to the isolation they often feel in the field. Even a modicum of the mild amalgam of challenge and direction that is provided by participatory training seems to combine to light nascent flames of interest and excitement. But whatever the reason for their enthusiasm, it is a delight to work with them.
To be continued in the next blog.
Photos: the line up at the Rubanda water pump; student groups at Rubanda work on action steps of development; participation ladder with Bukindi students; Muko group in front of the new building.