Evaluation of views and perceptions of junior doctors on urology training and exposure during internship in South Africa: are we losing future urologists?
Background: In South Africa, urological and other subspecialty training and exposure vary across each university at undergraduate and internship level. Many students and junior doctors complete their degrees and medical internship with little or no exposure and training to enable them to manage common urological conditions at primary healthcare level with the adequate competency, proficiency and confidence. We aimed to evaluate the exposure and urological training of junior doctors during internship and to determine whether it had any impact on their attitudes toward urology as a speciality in which to pursue a career.
Methods: We used a descriptive cross-sectional survey design. We emailed a questionnaire to 200 community service doctors who completed internship during 2016–2018, working across Western Cape hospitals. The questionnaire aimed to assess their clinical exposure to urology, confidence in basic urological knowledge and clinical skills, and their attitudes toward urology as a postgraduate career choice.
Results: The response rate was 104/200 (52%), 75% (n = 78) of the respondents had completed their internship without rotating through the urology department, 53.8% (n = 56) felt that their knowledge of essential urology topics was ‘average’ and still required further teaching and guidance, and 43.3% (n = 45) were not confident of performing a circumcision. 11.5% (n = 12) respondents were interested in pursuing a career in urology. The duration of the rotation through urology during internship and pursuing a career in urology were significantly associated (p = 0.005).
Conclusion: The study showed that urological exposure and training at internship level is below the standard it needs to be in order to produce proficient and competent doctors able to practise efficiently during community service. The study also highlighted that limited exposure has a negative impact on potential future urologists wanting to pursue a career in the field. Incorporation of necessary urology skills short courses into the internship programme might help mitigate some of these challenges.
The South African Journal of Surgery (SAJS) reserves copyright of the material published. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial Works 4.0 South Africa License. Material submitted for publication in the SAJS is accepted provided it has not been published elsewhere. The SAJS does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.