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.
UP researcher finds ways to improve the well-being of wildlife - 07/11/2014
Although wild animals have been captured and chemically immobilised for years (by using a form of anaesthesia induced by drugs in a dart), very little is known about the short- and long-term consequences of capture and the effects of immobilising drugs on wild animals. Dr Leith Meyer, Veterinary Sciences Pharmacology researcher at the University of Pretoria, is committed to finding solutions to improve the well-being of wild animals. The results of his research will help wildlife veterinarians and other conservation practitioners to ensure that the best methods of capture are practised and optimal immobilising drug cocktails and treatments are used.
Giving the defenceless a voice in court - 06/11/2014
Crimes committed against people with developmental and other disabilities are similar in scope to crimes committed against women, children and the elderly, and yet the victimisation of people with disabilities remains largely unaddressed. This can be ascribed to their being perceived as voiceless and invisible members of society – a perception that makes them attractive targets for their perpetrators because they often believe that their victims will not be able to testify against them in court. Three large-scale research studies are currently under way at the University of Pretoria (UP) to change this situation.
Dr Johan van Zyl named Sunday Times Business Leader of the Year - 05/11/2014
Dr Johan van Zyl, former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria and one of the University’s most distinguished alumni, was named Sunday Times Business Leader of the Year at a ceremony at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday night, 28 October. The Sunday Times Business Leader of the Year award is a prestigious accolade bestowed on recipients voted for by executives of the top 100 companies of the previous year.
UP awarded status as MRC collaborative centre for malaria research - 30/10/2014
The Medical Research Council (MRC) invited higher education institutions, science councils and registered non-profit research organisations in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to submit applications to become part of their new initiative, MRC Collaborating Centres for Malaria Research. The University of Pretoria’s Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control (UP CSMC) recently received word that their application has been successful. The network of MRC collaborating centres for malaria research will collectively provide a multidisciplinary approach to malaria research; synergise efforts on malaria research to achieve common goals; and facilitate scientific collaboration among malaria researchers in Southern Africa.
Breast cancer is not a death sentence - 29/10/2014
In South Africa, one in 29 women is diagnosed with breast cancer each year. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many do not take the necessary steps to detect the disease in its early stages and to encourage others to do the same. Most of us dread ever hearing the words, “You have cancer”, because this disease is sure to have a significant impact on all areas of a person’s life. Ms Jonita van Wyk, who graduated earlier this year with a master’s degree in Social Work (Health Care) in the Department of Social Work and Criminology at the University of Pretoria (UP), conducted research on the social functioning of women with breast cancer, under the supervision of Dr Charlene Carbonatto.