The biggest challenge I faced was to figure out how to use what I learnt to help the patients and apply the knowledge in my practice.
Sekgoma Memorial Hospital is blessed with a group of enthusiastic professionals who agreed to form the palliative care team . The Superintendent of the hospital and the Matrons were the first to support such a proposal.
The team consists of
Oncologist ,Nurses (2),Medical Social Worker, Home Based Care Nurse, Palliative Care Nurse, Medical Officer, Dietitian ,Pastor.
We decided to conduct palliative care OPD every 1st and 3rd Friday of every month where a comprehensive discussion is held with the patient and families.
The course is no easy one and is definitely very challenging added to it is the fact that many of us will be doing the course while we are working.
So the most important factor to succeed in the course is to have mentors and the faculty at UCT are more than eminent at guiding the weakest of the lot in succeeding at the course.
Dr Liz Gwyther , Dr Rene Krause(Adult Palliative care) , Dr Michelle Merring (Paediatric Palliative care), Linda Ganca (Communication Expert) are the base Mentor Team that helped me through the course.
The mentors made sure that each topic was discussed in detail and every session was interactive and engaging.
I have to mention that the support you get from the fellow students is priceless. Rene Albertyn our fellow student has helped me through all the assignments and difficult topics.At one particular time I remember being stuck in a topic not knowing where to find articles for references and after requesting Rene Albertyn for help , my email inbox had 8 articles specifically addressing my need.
We formed a whatsapp group to discuss our challenges.
Each of the 26 students have taught me in their own and every interaction has been something to learn from.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Palliative Medicine at University of Cape Town being my first International Course, I had no idea as to how the course will turn out.
I must say the course is intense , well structured and comprehensive. It requires effort to complete the necessary 1200hrs training and has the most supportive tutors/mentors to help one get through the course.1
There are 2 contact sessions which are mandatory for the candidate to attend (Jan and June) with each session lasting for 5 days.
It is an active course with 8 Assignments and a forum topic to be discussed every other week.
The emphasis is more on how a student is utilizing the learnt knowledge in day to day practice and not just memorisation of facts.
The final exams are held in November which consists both theory and viva. The “lucky” ones graduate in December.