African Journal of Health Professions Education

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Using graduates as key stakeholders to inform training and policy in health professions: The hidden potential of tracer studies

AG Mubuuke, F Businge, E Kiguli-Malwadde


Background. Tracer studies are alumni surveys that attempt to track  activities of graduates of an educational institution, which enable the contextualisation of these professionals through a dynamic and reliable system to determine their career progression. It also enables the gathering of information to feed back into training institutions and to inform policy bodies on key issues. The purpose of this study was to track career paths of radiography graduates in Uganda, examine their contribution to their profession, and establish their opinions on how to improve training and inform policy.
Methods. A cross-sectional descriptive survey of radiography graduates who completed their training between 2001 and 2011 was conducted. Names
of graduates were obtained from university records and contact details were sought from the register of the Uganda Radiographers Association, Facebook, Twitter, and friends. Data were collected using a  self-administered questionnaire distributed electronically to the students. In a few instances, the survey was completed telephonically.
Results. A total of 90 questionnaires were sent out; 72 (80%) were returned. The majority of the respondents (95.8%) were employed as radiographers at the time of the survey and were all satisfied with their work. A significant number were employed abroad, while those who  remained in the country worked for private health facilities and only a few worked in government health facilities. Key suggestions were identified to improve training and influence policy.
Conclusion. Graduate radiographers were generally satisfied with their current work. Many trained radiographers, however, are leaving the country,
thereby creating a skills shortage in the government healthcare system.

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