The Skills Laboratory offers all students within the Faculty of Health Sciences the opportunity to acquire clinical, communication and ethical skills which will play an essential role in their ability to effectively diagnose and treat future patients.
The Faculty’s Skills Laboratory was the first of its kind in Africa, and since its inception in 1996, it has continually proven its worth in the training of health care professionals. The usefulness of such a facility has been proven by the establishment of similar facilities at other universities’ medical schools.
The laboratory assists all of the departments within the School of Medicine and the School of Health Care Sciences with shaping a well rounded pool of knowledge from which the student may draw upon in his/her future practice.
The Skills Lab is equipped with a wide array of resources in order to provide a high standard of training. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (adults and children), pelvic, breast and head mannequins constitute but a few of the many teaching tools. Dummy arms, backs and baby heads are used to teach skills such as phlebotomy, inserting intravenous drips, executing a lumbar puncture and inserting sutures. The Lab also has examination rooms, where practical assessment of skills takes place in the form of OSCE’s (Objective Standardised Clinical Examinations). Standardised Patients are employed for teaching and assessment purposes. They are trained to enact certain medical conditions, thereby creating an authentic and a safe learning environment where the students can improve their diagnostic, treatment and communication skills.
Of course, such a unit may possess the most cutting edge equipment and infrastructure, but it is the people who utilize them that ultimately determine the efficacy with which the unit functions. The lab currently employs two full time staff members: the executive head of the department and the head administrator. Further more a senior and a junior lecturer are employed, as well as a teaching assistant on a part time basis. Additionally several part time staff use the lab’s facilities. Click on the 'Staff of the Skills Laboratory' link in the left hand pane to view more information.
Most of the courses are presented by departemental lecturers within the different Schools. The Skills Lab, however, has an academic responsibility for General Procedural Skills (GPS 280) for second year medical and dental students (averaging a cohort of 290 students), GPS 380 (an average cohort of 220 medical students), GPS 370 (an average cohort of 60 dental students) and GNK286 (Basic emergency care) for medical, dental, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, radiography and oral hygiene students (an average of 500 students per year).
Appropriate environments are created for the skills learning and OSCE's in the following study blocks:
Trauma Block (GNK 583) (5 rotations),
Neurology Block (BOK 482) (16 rotations),
Pregnancy and Neonatology Block (BOK 382) (43 sessions),
Psychiatry and Social Dysfunction Block (GNK 581) (21 sessions),
Health and Heath Care Block (GNK 582), and
The Student Intern Complex (SIC) skills sessions (330 sessions).
For more information on the Skills Laboratory's role in the presentation of these modules, click on the 'Information for Students' link in the left hand pane.
Recently a model for peer-assisted learning was incorporated to support guide the student skills learning during voluntary practice sessions. The tutors are also encouraged to provide guidance and support where needed in the hospital / clinics and to perform diagnostic (detecting individual student problems) and evaluative (detecting teaching problems) assessment. The Laboratory is accredited and certified by the Resuscitation Council of South Africa to offer training in basic (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support for adults (ACLS) and infants (PALS); for more information on enrollment requirements and costs, course contents and dates, click on the 'External Courses' link in the left hand pane.
Celebrating 15 years of music therapy training at UP - 21/08/2014
On Saturday 16 August the Music Therapy Unit of the Department of Music hosted a vibrant celebration to showcase the work of current students, past graduates and staff members. This event was held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Music Therapy training at the University of Pretoria. The UP MMus (Music Therapy) training programme is the only master’s training programme of its kind on the African continent.
UP food scientist receives international award for leadership in his field - 21/08/2014
Dr Patrick Njage of the Department of Food Science at UP and postdoctoral fellow of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being (IFNuW), was a recipient of the International Union of Food Science and Technology’s (IUFoST) Young Scientist Award for 2014. Alongside seven other outstanding young food scientists from across the world, Njage received the award at the IUFoST’s 17th World Congress of Food Science and Technology (World Food Congress), held in Montreal, Canada from 17 to 21 August.
Huge teaching development grant for UP - 19/08/2014
The Department of Higher Education and Training has granted funding of R8 million for the development of higher education based on a project plan put forward by the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town. The University of Pretoria (UP) will be coordinating this development that will focus on the establishment of a collaborative open educational resource term bank (OERTB) for higher education.
Research into SA’s unique ritual-liturgical landscape - 19/08/2014
Prof Cas Wepener, a C2-graded researcher from the Department Practical Theology at UP, is researching South Africa’s ritual-liturgical landscape, which he describes as a fairly unique landscape that cannot really be equated with that of any other country. Ritual expressions of religion and spirituality in South Africa challenges the traditional theological discipline of Liturgical Studies that was born and raised in the West, thereby providing interesting research possibilities into this discipline.