An investigation into structured postgraduate programmes for emergency care practitioners in South Africa

dc.contributor.advisorHagemeister, D. T.
dc.contributor.authorCrawford, Steven John
dc.description.abstractWith this study, the researcher pursued an investigation into the perceived need for structured postgraduate programmes for emergency care practitioners (ECPs) in South Africa. In 2017, South Africa terminated the vocational education and training route that was historically used by the prehospital emergency medical care (EMC) profession. Prehospital EMC education and training now conform to various legislative requirements that inform higher education. In accordance with the adopted Emergency Care Qualifications Framework, the professional registration of ECPs (four-year-degree graduates) is the highest clinical (professional) registration that can be obtained in the profession of prehospital EMC, which is achieved with a four-year qualification. The current academic framework allows for vertical articulation; however, the currently offered master’s and doctorate programmes are solely research based, which limits the professional registration, pathways, and clinical abilities of practitioners. The researcher suggests that this may further contribute to a silo-based healthcare system. There is no professional recognition (Health Professions Council of South Africa) of postgraduate programmes pursued within the metier of prehospital EMC. The research was guided by its aim, research question, and objectives. The holistic aim of this study, with which the research question and objectives were aligned, was to determine the potential need for structured postgraduate programmes that would enhance clinical ability and professional roles and titles (professional registration), allow for further clinical career pathways, and equip graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills to complement a system-based, interdisciplinary, and multi-skilled healthcare system and workforce with the adoption of National Health Insurance by 2030. The researcher embarked on this study with a pragmatic worldview, and adopted a qualitative research methodology with an interactive research design. Two methods were utilised to obtain the necessary data that would address the research question and objectives. Firstly, a literature study was employed to determine the current body of knowledge and practices in the international and South African settings. In the South African setting, it is evident that minimal literature exists when compared to international research findings. Secondly, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with the goal of producing rich, contextual, and conceptual knowledge relating to the research aim, question, and objectives. The research findings are presented in Chapter 2 as a publishable, original research article (the article was drafted in accordance with the Australasian Journal of Paramedicine’s author guidelines). The thematic coding of the semi-structured interview transcripts produced six dominant themes, namely “undergraduate education and training”, “postgraduate education and training”, “prehospital EMC shortfalls”, “professional positioning with the adoption of the National Health Insurance”, “professional recognition”, and “the need for structured postgraduate study programmes”. In the presence of an ailing national healthcare system, reform should know no limits, and the ability to multi-skill healthcare professionals, enhance versatility and roles within the healthcare system, and adopt a proactive/preventative approach to healthcare is critical to future success and sustainability. ECPs are in a unique, versatile, and dynamic position to complement the national healthcare system. This study concluded by suggesting that there is a perceived need (professional and healthcare system related) in the South African setting for the development of structured postgraduate programmes that would promote a clinical career within the emerging profession of prehospital EMC. Due to the complex nature of healthcare and educational systems, the researcher provides numerous recommendations to achieve the implementation of the findings (related to the need for structured postgraduate programmes) and to address additional themes that emerged from the primary data.en_ZA
dc.publisherUniversity of the Free Stateen_ZA
dc.rights.holderUniversity of the Free Stateen_ZA
dc.subjectDissertation (M.HPE. (Health Professions Education))--University of the Free State, 2021en_ZA
dc.subjectEmergency care practitioneren_ZA
dc.subjectNational Health Insuranceen_ZA
dc.subjectPostgraduate studiesen_ZA
dc.subjectSouth Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectPrehospital emergency medical careen_ZA
dc.subjectECP paramedicsen_ZA
dc.subjectEmergency medical techniciansen_ZA
dc.subjectParamedical educationen_ZA
dc.titleAn investigation into structured postgraduate programmes for emergency care practitioners in South Africaen_ZA
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