Self-reported confidence and perceived training needs of surgical interns at a regional hospital in Ghana: a questionnaire survey

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Self-reported confidence and perceived training needs of surgical interns at a regional hospital in Ghana: a questionnaire survey


JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication date – Oct – 2020
Authors – Mee Joo Kang 1 2, Reuben Kwesi Sakyi Ngissah
KeywordsConfidence, curriculum, Developing Countries, Internship, surgery, surgical education
Open access – Yes
SpecialitySurgical Education
World region Western Africa
Country: Ghana
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on November 14, 2020 at 11:30 am
Abstract:

Background
Due to disparities in their regional distribution of the surgical specialists, those who have finished “housemanship,” which is the equivalent of an internship, are serving as main surgical care providers in rural areas in Ghana. However, the quantitative volume of postgraduate surgical training experience and the level of self-reported confidence after formal training have not been investigated in detail in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods
The quality-assessment data of the Department of surgery at a regional hospital in Ghana was obtained from the convenience samples of house officers (HOs) who had their surgical rotation before July 2019. A self-reported questionnaire with 5-point Likert-type scale and open-ended responses regarding the 35 topics listed as learning objectives by the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana were retrospectively reviewed to investigate the volume of surgical experience, self-reported confidence, and perceived training needs.

Results
Among 52 respondents, the median self-reported number of patients experienced for each condition was less than 11 cases. More than 40% of HOs reported that they had never experienced cases of liver tumor (n = 21, 40.4%), portal hypertension (n = 23, 44.2%), or cancer chemotherapy/cancer therapy (n = 26, 50.0%). The median self-confidence score was 3.69 (interquartile range, 3.04 ~ 4.08). More than 50% of HOs scored ≤2 points on the self-confidence scale of gastric cancer (n = 28, 53.8%), colorectal cancer (n = 31, 59.6%), liver tumors (n = 32, 61.5%), and cancer chemotherapy/cancer therapy (n = 38, 73.1%). The top 3 reasons for not feeling confident were the limited number of patients (n = 42, 80.8%), resources and infrastructure (n = 21, 40.4%), and amount of supervision (n = 18, 34.6%). Eighteen HOs (34.6%) rated their confidence in their surgical skills as ≤2 points. Of all respondents, 76.9% (n = 40) were satisfied with their surgical rotation and 84.6% (n = 44) perceived the surgical rotation as relevant to their future work. Improved basic surgical skills training (n = 27, 51.9%) and improved supervision (n = 18, 34.6%) were suggested as a means to improve surgical rotation.

Conclusions
Surgical rotation during housemanship (internship) should be improved in terms of cancer treatment, surgical skills, and supervision to improve the quality of training, which is closely related to the quality of surgical care in rural areas.

OSI Number – 20761
PMID – 33109170

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