University of Cape Town: Bootcamp prepares fourth-year medical students for clinical practice

Preparing to assess and manage ill patients in a clinical setting for the first time can cause considerable stress and anxiety for fourth-year medical students at the University of Cape Town (UCT). But that’s a thing of the past, following the introduction of the Bootcamp Orientation Programme. The initiative was organised by the convenors of the fourth-year Internal Medicine rotation programme and roped in staff from the Department of Medicine in UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences for support.

Dr Robert Gill and Dr Bianca Davidson are the co-convenors of the Internal Medicine Ward Care course and the brains behind the programme.

“The bootcamp is a new initiative that we introduced in 2021. It includes a varied programme comprising orientation information, specialised seminars and dedicated cardiology, nephrology and internal medicine clinical tutorials,” Dr Gill said.

Preparing students

As the students prepare for their clinical attachment at four hospitals in the Cape metropole, Gill said that the bootcamp seeks to standardise students’ core knowledge and clinical skills before they enter clinical practice. Furthermore, it also provides students with the clinical confidence they need to see the attachment through.



“We hope that after completing the course they will feel more at ease to commence their hospital-based rotations.”

The week-long programme kicked off at the start of the academic year on Monday, 8 February. It occupied the first week of the students’ first rotation and offered each student the same theoretical and clinical exposure.

“We hope that students will benefit from the high-quality presentations and tutorials. The recently updated Ward Care Vula web page [consists of] a multitude of resources [to] understand the structure of the course, the duly performed requirements and the end of block exams. We hope that after completing the course they will feel more at ease to commence their hospital-based rotations,” he said.

Grateful participants

Gill said that the bootcamp was well received by all participants and will now become a regular fixture for all students at the start of their ward care rotation.

“The cardiology tutorials were very informative and made cardiology as a whole feel a lot less daunting,” one student reported.

“I will use some of this content even after my medical studies are completed.”

“[The bootcamp] was long and required a lot of work. But I am going to look back [one day] and be so grateful. I will use some of this content even after my medical studies are completed,” another student said.

Gill thanked the academics and clinicians for contributing to the programme’s success and for readily sharing their knowledge with students.

The convenors will use the students’ feedback to optimise the programme’s next run, which kicks off in a few weeks’ time.

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