101 reasons to go rural

Nationwide, health care students from nurses to physiotherapists are gearing up to submit their preferences for their community service placements. As a self-elected chairman of the UWC RURAL HEALTHCARE CLUB, I have compiled 101(jokes only 10) reasons of why students should choose rural.

We often forgot how beautiful rural South Africa is

We often forgot how beautiful rural South Africa is

Why chose a rural posts for community service? In short, if you don’t do this now, you probably never will.

During their final year, health care students are asked to submit their top five preferred districts for community service placement to the National Department of Health. The National Department of Health then assigns students a community service posting, usually within these top five choices.

Completion of community service is a requirement for health care workers wishing to practice in South Africa

1 . You will love it. Not immediately, and definitely not consistently, but undeniably. Rural healthcare is unique in many ways, and experiences will no doubt differ from one institution to the next but the unifying factor, is that it is more gratifying, more challenging and more inspiring than anything you would’ve experienced during your community service.

2. You will go on great adventures in parts of our wonderful country that you may have otherwise never explored. For me, I plan to be more inland than the coastal line not because I am afraid of tsunamis, but because I know many of us will probably choose placements along the coast. My kind of fun will include starting my own organic garden and finally go vegan as I have always wanted. I won’t mention my mountain biking mini trips and ofcoarse occasional trips to and weekend trips to the north coast. For you it may be hikes in great mountains, wine-tasting or surfing.

“At rural hospitals, you will likely be running the whole departments, and with a little perseverance you can literally make the changes you want to see.”

3. You will have more time on your hands than during community service. Even the poorly staffed rural hospitals you will have some time to be yourself and do things that are not work.

4. You can use your free time to start studying for primaries, or indulge in other interests you may have. For me, it`s going to be an accounting degree via UNISA, for you it may be your Masters in Public Health, Sports-physio, Law or even Music.

5. You will meet people from all around the world and they will become your lifelong friends. Many rural hospitals in South Africa are staffed with forein doctors and clinicians, these rebels and misfits know how to suck marrow our of life, there won`t be dull moments.

These young foreign professionals give a year or more of their lives to work in Africa, and are – in my opinion at least – superb human beings.They are kind, caring, enthusiastic and full of life. You will learn from them too, not only about different countries and cultures, but also different ways of practicing the same art.

6. You will appreciate your skills. You won’t be supervised  as much as you would like but you will learn a lot from this. Having to make your own decisions is daunting, but it is also very rewarding, especially when you start making the right decisions and seeing the positive results. In time you will realise that, despite what you may think, your years of studying is on a par with global standards, and this will give you a great deal of self-confidence.

7. The pay is good and living costs are low. You will receive a minimum of 18 and maximum or 22 percent increase on your salary for practicing in a remote area. If you live in doctors’ or nurses quarters, rent is R200 a month, amenities included. You can walk to work, so petrol or transport expenses are kept to a minimum. This allows you to put aside some saving for travel, family or dreams.

“ You will get to know your patients and their families, and see the difference you make in their lives. I can’t think of anything that is more satisfying than this”

8. You can be an agent of change. All those things that frustrate us about working in CHCs – lazy qualified physios, incompetent nurses, useless Stats that no one ever reads? At rural hospitals, you will likely be running your own departments, and with a little perseverance you can literally make the changes you want to see.

9. You will immernse yourself in the community that you are serving. People will recognise you at the Shoprite, or let you jump the queue for the ATM. You will get to know your patients and their families, and see the difference you make in their lives. I can’t think of anything that is more satisfying than this.

Your home, be it Johannesburg or Cape Town or Pretoria, won’t disappear. In fact, it won’t change much at all while you are gone. Instead, you will be the one that is changing, and when you return for weekends or short breaks from time to time, you will revel in the comforts of home. You will appreciate the things you took for granted: running water, 24-hour-Woolworths and medium-rare steak.

10. If you don’t do this now, you probably never will. You can work in just about any tiny corner of this beautiful country! It’s easier than you think. Do it, you will love it!

 

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Should South African Physiotherapists prescribe medication?

physios prescribingmedicine

The legislation outlined in the (Medicine Act, 1968)  governs health professionals in clinical practice regarding the administration, supply and prescription of medicines. The Medicine Act states that a prescription from an appropriate practitioner is required for the supply of medicinal products, a substance or combination of substances used for the treatment or prevention of diseases in human beings or animals.

When we try to evaluate whether physiotherapists who are trained in South Africa are should be allowed to prescribe medicine to humans and or animals, we should first scrutinize their training and pharmaceutical knowledge, and whether or not this knowledge is adequate to qualify them as prescribers.

Unlike pharmacy students I did not spend 4 horrible years studying  drugs and drug interactions, but however I did spend 4 glorious years studying how to make peoples pains better without using medications that sometimes have horrible side effects to my patients. I take pride in the fact that I can treat peoples pain without using drugs and medication. I believe that we have a unique role to play within the healthcare system of our country.

Recently there has been a big debate about the scope of practice for Biokinetists and they limitations, we were fighting for our territory and now we are the ones stepping on other profession`s territory, we have pharmacists and doctors for a reason, I do not think it is a good idea to allow physiotherapist to prescribe medicines, not only because I think we do not have the necessary knowledge to allow us to be competent, but because I still believe that physio have a lot to offer their patient and their art is enough to make a difference we do not need analgesics to make pain go away, we need our magic hands.

If we propose that physiotherapist should get the necessary knowledge they need to be competent in prescribing medication, we might as well say that biokinetists should get extra classes to do what physiotherapists are doing, even better we can give nurses  extra classes to make the competent to do surgery since we do not have enough doctors.

Related articles:

UK physiotherapists have been approved to prescribe medicine, Accessed on the 13-07-2014 at

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/physiotherapists-in-uk-can-now-independently-prescribe-medication-to-their-patients-in-world-first-8775378.html

Reference

The medical Act, 1968, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Accessed on  http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/acts_full.html

 

 

 

Physios prescribing medicine is a bad idea.

physios prescribingmedicine

The legislation outlined in the Medicine Act 1968 governs health professionals in clinical practice regarding the administration, supply and prescription of medicines. The Medicine Act states that a prescription from an appropriate practitioner is required for the supply of medicinal products, a substance or combination of substances used for the treatment or prevention of diseases in human beings or animals.

When we try to evaluate whether physiotherapists who are trained in South Africa are should be allowed to prescribe medicine to humans and or animals, we should first scrutinize their training and pharmaceutical knowledge, and whether or not this knowledge is adequate to qualify them as prescribers.

Unlike pharmacy students I did not spend 4 horrible years studying drugs and drug interactions, but however I did spend 4 glorious years studying how to make peoples pains better without using medications that sometimes have horrible side effects to my patients. I take pride in the fact that I can treat people’s pain without using drugs and medication. I believe that we have a unique role to play within the healthcare system of our country.

Recently there has been a big debate about the scope of practice for Biokinetists and they limitations, we were fighting for our territory and now we are the ones stepping on other profession`s territory, we have pharmacists and doctors for a reason, I do not think it is a good idea to allow physiotherapist to prescribe medicines, not only because I think we do not have the necessary knowledge to allow us to be competent, but because I still believe that physio have a lot to offer their patient and their art is enough to make a difference we do not need analgesics to make pain go away, we need our magic hands. I am even tempted to believe that it is only those private practice physios who are pushing for medication prescription to increase they clientele.

If we propose that physiotherapist should get the necessary knowledge they need to be competent in prescribing medication, we might as well say that biokinetists should get extra classes to do what physiotherapists are doing, even better we can give nurses extra classes to make the competent to do surgery since we do not have enough doctors.

The physiotherapy scope of practice is enough to allow physios to offer good quality healthcare to our patients. If we as physiotherapists say that we must be allowed to prescribe that means we are the ones who do not believe in the science of the treatment we give to our patients. The argument that physiotherapists being able to prescribe medication to patients will remove the burden of doctors, by physiotherapists taking full responsibility and accountability for the prescribing decision, is void as there are already a lot of other healthcare professionals helping the doctors in prescribing, these are some Nurses, Pharmacists, Clinical technicians.

 

Rural Com Serve

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An unstable economy, rife corruption and a failing health care system at the hands of irresponsible and corrupt officials on the ground are just the kind of troubles that South Africans face. The burden of disease, exacerbated by the high prevalence and incidence of HIV pokes holes at a bucket that is barely containing leaks of an equitable democratic country.

Both urban dwellers and rural are hard hit by the realities that disturb our health system, but it is the latter that find themselves in clinics where gloves run out, basic medicines are stocked out and  healthcare staff is demoralised and eventually seeks greener pastures elsewhere.

Rural Health is my passion. It is these marginalised of our society, predominantly illiterate and poorly educated that have to suffer the severest consequences of the ills that plague our system. It is these citizens, whose loud cries are but whispers that get lost in the political winds that blow over the rural landscape.

But there is hope, there is hope when young leaders and visionaries pick up they shovels and axes and head out to mend this system one person at a time.

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Taking from warrior men and women who went before us we will invest in a legacy that will outlive us. A legacy that began with the conscious efforts of health practitioners who simply said “ENOUGH is ENOUGH” change needs to happen, even if it means sacrificing a portion of your life to the seclusion of service in a rural area for a while. What does one have to lose? A mall, cinema trips and occasional night outs with the girls or guys at Long street?

It is sound minds and hearts like ours to which these silenced voices call, you and I. Leaders and pioneers of rural health care to be.

Will you join us or will you turn the blind eye?