Makerere College of Health Sciences Clinical Skills Laboratory

Established about two years ago to improve the quality of Medical Education in a resource-appropriate sense, the Clinical Skills Lab has over the past year, been a hub of activity with many health professionals in training and in-service benefitting from the facility. The emphasis lies on building competencies among Health professionals in a non-threatening environment. Examples of competencies that students and professionals acquire in the skills lab include interpersonal communication skills, history taking, procedural skills, resuscitation and other clinical skills. Simulation, role play, practice and feedback are some of the learning approaches employed.

Beneficiaries include Medical Students (both Undergraduate and Graduate), as well as in- service Health Professionals who benefit from Continuous Professional Development such as Registered Nurses, Specialists i.e. Obstetricians/ Gynecologists, Pediatricians etcetera
Skills training for the undergraduate students is held weekly for Year I and II, as well as biweekly sessions for Year III. Each session involves training groups of ten to twenty students with utilization of role play, simulated patients (practice on fellow students), use of mannequins, as well as peer feedback.

Year one students were introduced to the aspects of Communication and effective Interpersonal Skills essential for every Health professional to possess. They also participated in sessions to learn about vital signs- Pulse, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and how to measure, interpret and record these. Later on, they tackled Weight and height taking as well as calculating Body Mass Index.

Second years are gradually introduced to more clinical aspects like History Taking, General examination, Aseptic technique, and systemic examination e.g. Cranial Nerve Examination.
Third year Medical students are familiarized with examination of the Cardiovascular system, respiratory system, Breast examination, abdominal examination and Gynecological examination. They become acquainted with the equipment used and how to communicate with the patient as well as fellow health workers in these scenarios.
In all aspects, the vertical integration of Clinical Skills Laboratory training/ activities with the curriculum is emphasized to ensure relevance of the sessions to the students.
In the discipline of Pediatrics, there were trainings participated in including Training of Tutors in Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment Plus (ETAT plus) in early February 2014. Tutors then went on to be involved in training of other cadres and students. Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) course in Neonatal resuscitation was conducted from the 8th to 13th Sept 2014 for the Masters in Medicine, Paediatrics Graduate students (years II and III), coordinated under a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Emergency Medicine faculty and faculty from Department of Pediatrics Makerere College of Health Sciences (facilitators- Dr. Deo Munube and Dr. Jules Jung). These MMed graduate students then went on to hold sessions to train about forty undergraduate students, M.B.Ch.B IV and V.
In the month of October there was a Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) and Essential care of the newborn training for the Nursing and midwifery Tutors /Diploma Midwives (RM) and Diploma Nurses (RN). A total of twenty four trainees attended and it was coordinated by Dr. Flavia Namiiro and Mariam Namutebi.-

Emergency Medicine faculty from Stanford University (USA) in collaboration with faculty from Makerere CHS, have held bi-annual sessions for Undergraduate students in Essentials in Emergency assessment and care (11-15th August 2014)for years IV and V, as well as Utilization of Ultrasound in emergency settings on 6th February 2015. These much anticipated sessions allow for strengthening ties between the two Universities especially seeing that in the near foreseeable future, effort is being geared toward setting up an Emergency Medicine Department at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

Faculty and graduate students from the Department of Anaesthesia have been instrumental in equipping Undergraduate Medical students (years III-V) with resuscitation skills in Basic Life Support and airway management. The MMed graduate students from the department tutor the undergraduates weekly, to prepare them for the practical and clinical aspects of patient care.
Family Medicine department had training on Focused Ultrasound in Obstetrics conducted on 21st October 2014 which ten postgraduate and faculty attended. It was facilitated by Dr. Jane Namatovu.

The Department of Surgery and the Department of Obstetrics share an autonomous laboratory which was officially opened on 4th April 2014, and has since then housed trainings in endoscopy, Endoscopic simulation sessions for MMed graduate students and specialists, as well as sessions for Advanced Trauma Life Support coordinated by Specialists and MMed students for Intern doctors as they begin their internship. The SBAR; Situation- Background- Assessment- Recommendation competencies training is another frontier that General surgeons as well as graduate students from the department of Surgery have implemented to prepare frontline staff e.g. Interns, Nurses to improve Hand-off and consequently improve patient care and safety.