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Fifth Year

Course outline for the four week fifth year Gynaecology rotation

The 5th year rotation consists of 4 weeks, where students are taught in various settings. There are 40 students which are divided into groups. They spend 2 weeks in a secondary hospital (New Somerset), and 2 weeks in the tertiary hospital (Groote Schuur). At New Somerset, students are exposed to general gynaecology in the wards and in outpatient clinics. At Groote Schuur, students get a 'taste' of our super-speciality services, such as oncology, andrology/ fertility, colposcopy, and urogynaecology, also in wards and clinics. They spend a substantial amount of time in the Family Planning clinic as well. Students have only one opportunity to see patients in a community setting. A second session has fallen away due to a lack of funding for the sessional teacher. This poses a significant problem, since the South African Department of Health is committed to primary care and community-based education. A lack of suitable venues and funding are hampering progress in this regard.

Students receive a series of lectures on core topics, which focus on history-taking, directed patient examination, diagnostic thinking and rational use of special investigations. They are also taught in small group tutorials, theatre and on ward rounds. They have skills sessions where they are able to practice speculum insertion, bimanual examinations and pap smears on models.

In keeping with our commitment to the 'golden threads' of the curriculum such as professionalism, respect and compassion for patients etc., we have developed some novel aspects to our programme. Students have 2 tutorials focusing on compassion for patients, and we now have a brand new workshop focusing on the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). This was introduced in response to a curriculum mapping exercise that identified the lack of follow-through of this topic from the 'pre-clinical' to the 'clinical' years. In this workshop, students have the opportunity to explore self-chosen topics in a self-directed manner. By and large, South Africa is still a very conservative country, and so many students find this a difficult issue, and the workshop is a safe space where they can explore their attitudes and beliefs about this minority group. The initial student evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive, and have confirmed the need for this learning experience. The student feedback is being collected in a scholarly manner, with the aim of publishing our findings.

Current innovations include a focus on e-learning; we have a project to improve the Departmental student website, and have recently initiated a social network page to supplement students' learning.

The teaching programme and how it is presented is demonstrated in the following table:





Tutorials GSH and NSH Daily Full-time clinical and sessional staff
Clinical skills GSH Skills Lab Once during 4 week block Full-time clinical and sessional staff; sonographers, pre-registration peers
Academic Units GSH Various units over 2 week period Full time clinical and sessional staff, sonographers, pre-registration peers
Academic Units MMH Vanguard community clinic, GSH Weekly from week two until seven Convenors, Lecturers, Sonographers
Compassion session NSH Twice during 4 week block Sr Robyn Sheldon
LGBT workshop Department of O&G Once in intro week and once in assessment week Veronica Mitchell
Outpatient teaching Several general and specialist unit clinics   Full-time clinical staff and sessional private sector consultants
Full-time clinical and sessional staff
Primary care patient clerking Vanguard Community Centre One session Course convenor medical officer, nursing sister
Theatre teaching NSH and GSH Various sessions at secondary and tertiary level Full-time clinical staff

Course requirements:
Duly Performed (DP) requirements

These must have been done before students are permitted to write their exams. Students are required to complete a log-book of learning activities and practical skills done. Furthermore, a reflective commentary on the LGBT workshop is required.


Students are offered several opportunities for formative and summative assessment.





Weight (%)

Preliminary case-report feedback By mid-block Consultants, medical officers -
Case presentations 3 tutorials Medical educationist medical officers, sessional doctor -
Summative OSCE End of block Convenors, lecturers, sessional staff 40%
Portfolio exams comprising 2 components: 4 written reports and oral End of block Full time and sessional clinical staff 30%
MCQ End of year Computerised 30%

Students who do not attain the specified exemption marks in their OSCE or portfolios are required to repeat these, and those who fail the MCQ or repeat exams are required to have a final oral exam.

Ms Lungile Mhlongo
Course Administrator

Dr Chivaugn Gordon
Course Convener