Internship for the emergency care practitioner (ECP) paramedic in South Africa: a needs analysis
Jansen van Vuuren, J. J.
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INTRODUCTION: An in-depth study was done with a view to determine the necessity for an internship for Emergency Care Practitioners in South Africa to enhance their autonomous practice in the profession, as indicated by the participants taking part in this study. AIM: The aim of this study was to determine the need for an internship for the ECP paramedics in South Africa. METHODOLOGY: A qualitative research design was used for this study. After ethical approval was obtained (UFS-HSD 2017/0047), semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 qualified Emergency Care Practitioners who scored most on a matrix developed by the researcher, in order to report on the experiences of individuals and their understanding of the specific topic. RESULTS: A significant number of participants (67%) indicated that with a mentorship/ internship programme after tertiary studies, the transition to the world of work would be gentler and that their professional confidence would have benefitted. When prompted during the semi-structured interviews, 50% of the participants were of the opinion that with additional training, medico-legal implications would not be mitigated, 38% of the participants stated that to a large degree the medico legal implications would subside or be eliminated, and 13% that the number of medico legal implications would decrease. Forty percent (40%) of the participants in the study were of the opinion that simulation training would be beneficial as part of the training during an internship, as 13% of the participants were against simulation training, while 33% of the participants were not very positive towards additional simulation training. Thirteen percent (13%) of the participants did not provide feedback regarding simulation training during an internship. With regard to the duration of an internship programme, 50% stated that a period longer than six (6) months and less than twelve (12) months would be sufficient, 31% stated that the internship should be more than three (3) months, but not longer than six (6) months. Six percent (6%) of the participants mentioned that the duration of the internship should be determined by the area in which they would be completing their internship period. CONCLUSION: The introduction of an education and training programme for internship as part of the pedagogy in emergency medical care training will add a new dimension to teaching and learning of the emergency medical care students. The development of an internship education and training programme for newly graduate emergency medical care practitioners as medium of instruction, which portrays sound pedagogical principles, will enrich the training of the highest qualified registered pre-hospital practitioners in South Africa. Consequently, an internship programme could have the potential to prepare and produce better-equipped professionals who will render an optimal service to the patients and the community.