Perceptions of newly-qualified oral healthcare professionals about their exposure to service learning in their final year of training at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa

Phalwane, Motlalepula Grace (2019-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The main purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of oral health professionals from Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) regarding the impact of an undergraduate Service Learning (SL) module on their current practice. A case study design was used to investigate the perceptions of newly-qualified oral healthcare professionals about their exposure to service learning in their final year of training. The participants’ socio-demographic variables were also explored to provide insight into factors that may impact on long-term application of SL principles, for example, age denoting maturity of the individual and previous exposure to SL that may yield future interest in community service. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in English, for a duration of 7-30 minutes for each participant. The researcher-administered interview guide comprising five items, with both close-ended and open-ended questions was used to interview participants. A total of 22 study participants from the Bachelor of Dental Therapy, Bachelor of Dental Surgery and Bachelor of Oral Health participated in the study. The key research question was, “What are the perceptions of oral health professionals regarding the impact of SL on their practice?” The participants indicated that SL is a worthy activity that exposed the students to the real world of dentistry, and provides them with the exposure that prepares them for work actualities, which the traditional didactic methods of teaching and learning could not cover. Moreover, the study also highlighted that SL had benefited the participants in their compassion for clients, as well as making them socially reflective and accountable to communities while maintaining quality patient care. Respondents suggested that SL fostered their communication skills, improved their confidence, self-awareness and improved their abilities to make independent professional decisions. Despite the benefits that SL offers, the study participants also revealed some challenges of the SL programme at SMU. The concerns raised included the short duration of the SL programme, the limited coverage of communities by SL and limited opportunity to experience SL, as it is only offered to the final year students. Participants made several recommendations for improving the SL programme. These recommendations include the upgrade of the SL program and the incorporation of feasible and sensible aspects that were lacking in the programme. The study proposes further investigations on SL approaches in different environments.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie was om die persepsies van professionele persone in mondgesondheid van die Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) te ondersoek rakende die impak van 'n module voorgraadse diensleer (SL) op hul huidige praktyk. ’n Gevallestudie-ontwerp is gebruik om die persepsies van nuut-gekwalifiseerde mondgesondheidsorgpersoneel oor hul blootstelling aan diensleer in hul laaste jaar van opleiding te ondersoek. Die sosio-demografiese veranderlikes van die deelnemers is ook ondersoek om insig te gee rakende faktore wat op die langtermyn op die toepassing van diensleerbeginsels mag impakteer, byvoorbeeld, ouderdom wat volwassenheid van die individu aandui en vorige blootstelling aan SL wat toekomstige belangstelling in gemeenskapsdiens kan aanwakker. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude was in Engels gevoer vir 'n duur van 7-30 minute vir elke deelnemer. ’n Navorsergeadministreerde-onderhoudsgids wat uit vyf items bestaan het, insluitend oop-einde en geslote-einde vrae, is gebruik om die vrae te rig. ’n Totaal van 22 deelnemers afkomstig van die Baccalaureus in Tandterapie, Baccalaureus in Tandheelkundige Chirurgie en Baccalaureus in Mondhigiëne Oral Health het uiteindelik aan die studie deelgeneem. Die belangrikste navorsingsvraag was: "Wat is die persepsie van mondgesondheidswerkers rakende die impak van SL op hul praktyk?" Die deelnemers het aangedui dat SL ’n waardige aktiwiteit is wat die studente aan die werklike wêreld van Tandheelkunde blootgestel het wat tradisionele didaktiese metodes van onderrig en leer nie kon vermag nie. Verder het die studie ook benadruk dat SL die deelnemers se deernis vir kliënte verbeter het, asook dat hulle sosiaal-reflektief en verantwoordbaar teenoor gemeenskappe gemaak is terwyl die pasiëntversorging van gehalte behou is. Respondente het voorgestel dat SL hulle kommunikasievaardighede bevorder het, asook hulle selfvertroue, selfbewustheid en vermoë om onafhanklike professionele besluite te neem verbeter het. Ondanks die voordele wat SL bied, het die deelnemers aan die studie ook ’n paar uitdagings rakende die SL-program van SMU geopenbaar. Die bekommernisse wat geopper was, is die kort duur van die SL-program, die beperkte dekking wat SL bied aan gemeenskappe, en die beperkte geleentheid om SL te ervaar aangesien dit slegs vir finalejaar studente aangebied word. Deelnemers het verskeie aanbevelings gemaak om die SL-program te verbeter. Hierdie aanbevelings het ingesluit om die SL-program op te gradeer en om ook haalbare en sinvolle aspekte in te sluit wat te kort geskiet het in die program. Die studie het ook verdere navorsing oor SL-benaderings in verskillende omgewings voorgestel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107102
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