University of Cape Town: Project by final-year medical students encourages ‘each one teach one’ approach

A unique poster project carried out by final-year medical students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is guaranteed to benefit the health and well-being of patients visiting the Ambulatory Care (Ambucare) Department at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH).

The project required that students design a series of visually appealing infographics as part of their General Medicine rotation. Their posters cover a range of core health concepts, including how to navigate grief, tips on effective self-care and the need-to-knows on COVID-19 vaccinations. These essential guidelines are particularly relevant to patients, their families, and communities, and encourage them to take charge of their health.

Dr Robert Gill, who is directly involved with undergraduate training in UCT’s Department of Medicine, said the project encouraged students to expand their knowledge on a medical discipline of their choice while keeping their patients’ needs in mind. The topic, he explained, could either be of interest to the student or may have emerged as an area of interest for patients during a consultation. The posters will go on display in the Ambucare Department, an outpatient unit at GSH. The unit accepts walk-in patients who need to access treatment for various conditions, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus and HIV.

“I’m sure our patients will find this information incredibly valuable.”

Students presented their projects during a five-minute presentation on Thursday, 14 October 2021, after which Dr Gill provided feedback on each project.

“This is an exciting project, and I am delighted to see what our students have come up with. I’d like to congratulate them on a job very well done,” he said. “I’m sure our patients will find this information incredibly valuable.”

The nuts and bolts

Gill said the project guidelines were clear: to expand students’ knowledge of a medical discipline, and in turn, to educate patients, but without overloading them with detail and complex medical jargon.

Therefore, selecting topics that patients could directly relate to was an important requirement, and students didn’t disappoint. Managing lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and gout; and providing guidelines on exercise tips and nutritional supplements for people with comorbidities were just some of the infographics on display.

In time, the goal is to display these posters in waiting rooms around GSH to ensure that other patients and visitors benefit from them as well. The best infographics of each student rotation will also be displayed on the Department of Medicine’s website, and three cash prizes are up for grabs for the top presentations.

“The health and well-being of our patients is our number one priority. With these posters they will be able to equip themselves with knowledge relevant to their needs and impart this knowledge to family and friends,” Gill said.

“We’re hoping that this project will result in an ‘each one teach one’ outcome.”