Stellenbosch University medical students are doing practical training at Melomed Private Hospital thanks to an agreement signed between the two institutions.
A signing ceremony took place at Melomed Gatesville on Friday March 1, where the partners formalised a training rotation for fourth- and fifth-year students that started in 2017.
For four weeks at a time, the students gain experience with specialists at the private hospital before continuing their training at Tygerberg Hospital.
Zaraina Solomons, a specialist physician at Melomed Gatesville, said the partnership focused on clinical training.
“Part of our teaching is to focus on bedside teaching, so between myself and the specialists we would have students examine a patient blindly, meaning that they are unaware of what’s going on in the folder, and they will eventually present a diagnoses in a logical fashion to us.
“They learn to be able to pick up clinical issues and signs in the patient and hone that skill.
“We have open discussions and have people from various departments teaching them different skills,” she said.
Professor Rafique Moosa, of Stellenbosch University’s medicine and health sciences faculty, said the partnership gave students valuable experience.
“They are exposed to completely different types of patients, and when they graduate they are well rounded with experience.
“The patients have told us that often medical students are the only ones who have the time to sit down with them and explain to them what is going on.
“While they are here to learn from our consultants they often teach as well and that is what learning is all about,” he said.
Fifth-year medical student Ayesha Korowlay, from Athlone, said working at the hospital had taught her to focus more on the patient, while the rotations with specialists had been an opportunity for one-on-one questioning.
“Some patients denied us access to examine them, and we respected that, but most of them allowed us access because they understood that we needed to learn; that we are future doctors. The experience has been good here,” she said.