Perceptions of graduates from Africa's first emergency medicine training program at the University of Cape Town/Stellenbosch University
Objective: Africa's first postgraduate training program in emergency medicine (EM) was established at the University of Cape Town/Stellenbosch University (UCT/SUN) in 2004. This study of the UCT/SUN EM program investigated the backgrounds, perceptions, and experiences of its graduates. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. The study population was the 30 graduates from the first four classes in the UCT/SUN EM program (2007-2010). We employed a scripted interview with a combination of closed and open-ended questions. Data were analyzed using the thematic method of qualitative analysis. Results: Twenty-seven (90%) graduates were interviewed. Initial career goals were primarily (78%) to practice EM in a nonacademic clinical capacity. At the time of the interview, 52% held academic positions, 15% had nonacademic clinical positions, and 33% had temporary positions and were looking for other posts. The three most commonly cited strengths of their program were diversity of clinical rotations (85%), autonomy and procedural experience (63%), and importance of being pioneers within Africa (52%). The three most commonly cited weaknesses were lack of bedside teaching in the ED (96%), lack of career options after graduation (74%), and lack of preparation for academic careers (70%). Conclusions: The lessons identified from structured interviews with graduates from Africa's first EM training include the importance of strong clinical training, difficulty of ensuring bedside teaching in a new program, the necessity of ensuring postgraduation positions, and the need for academic training. These findings may be useful for other developing countries looking to start EM training programs. © Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians.