Does undergraduate teaching of infection prevention and control adequately equip graduates for medical practice?

  • A Dramowski
  • F Marais
  • B Willems
  • S Mehtar


Background: Knowledge, skills and desirable clinical practices in infection prevention and control (IPC) should be acquired during undergraduate medical training. Although knowledge and skills are learnt in the formal curriculum, attitudes and practices are assimilated by observation and modelling. We investigated whether undergraduate teaching and learning of IPC at Stellenbosch University adequately prepared graduates for medical practice.

Methods: A situational analysis of IPC teaching was conducted, including development of IPC competencies, a curriculum review, an email survey of MB,ChB graduates and semistructured focus group or personal interviews with teaching faculty. Qualitative data were assessed using a framework analysis approach.

Results: All graduate survey respondents who completed the IPC-related questions (n=180) agreed that teaching of IPC was important and most (156; 87.8%) felt that IPC teaching had adequately prepared them for practice. Despite this perception, graduates encountered difficulty implementing IPC best practice owing to lack of management support for IPC and resource constraints. Faculty members disagreed regarding the adequacy of IPC teaching and some were concerned that the curriculum failed to prepare graduates for medical practice. Graduates and faculty felt strongly that undergraduate IPC teaching and learning could be improved by addressing suboptimal IPC practices and lack of clinician role models for IPC at training institutions.

Conclusion: IPC knowledge transfer appears adequate in most competency areas. However graduates struggled to implement IPC best practice in the clinical field. Undergraduate IPC teaching and learning could be enhanced by development of clinician role models for IPC and strengthened IPC practices in training institutions.


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