Students in Health Sciences receive their degrees
A total of 690 students of the Faculty of Health Sciences graduated on Tuesday morning, 6 December, at the first December graduation ceremony (video) of Stellenbosch University (SU).
At the graduation ceremony, held in the DF Malan Centre at Coetzenburg, ten doctorates in various disciplines in Health Sciences were also awarded.
This year, the Faculty had ten medical doctors who passed their degrees with distinction – the most ever in the Faculty’s history.
Six former SciMathUS students also received their degrees at Tuesday’s ceremony, one in absentia. The SciMathUS post-matric programme is a structured 10-month course that was launched in 2001. It provides learners from disadvantaged schools who demonstrate potential a second chance to improve their marks in Math, Physical Sciences and Accounting, and thereby gain entry into sought-after university programmes.
Among Tuesday’s graduates were the first nine MB ChB students who did their clinical rotations at SU’s recently established Ukwanda Rural Clinical School in Worcester, thereby completing their sixth year successfully on a rural platform.
SU’s Faculty of Health Sciences is the first South African medical school to establish a rural health platform. The Ukwanda Rural Clinical School, which opened its doors at the beginning of this year, has its hub in Worcester with nodes in Ceres, Robertson, Caledon, Hermanus and Swellendam.
This is in line with world trends towards community oriented and socially responsible medical schools. Studies have shown that rural exposure during undergraduate training has a positive influence on rural recruitment and retention of health-care workers in rural settings.
The Ukwanda Rural Clinical School is part of SU’s HOPE Project, a campus-wide initiative through which major societal challenges are being tackled.
Seven of these students were at the Worcester Regional Hospital, while the other two followed the continuous longitudinal clerkship at the district hospital in Ceres where they trained under the mentorship of a family physician but received regular inputs from visiting specialists.
A second MB ChB sixth-year group, comprising 22 students, have accepted placement at the Clinical School for next year.
Also among the students who graduated on Tuesday were the twins Retha and Lize van der Merwe.
Both received their B in Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy and will be doing their community year in the Free State in 2012.
Retha and Lize agreed that it was a good experience to tackle their studies together. They said they supported each other for four years, enjoyed studying together and, as expected, “exchanged many class notes”!
On Monday, 5 December, the Van der Merwe twins were part of the group of Health Sciences graduates who pledged the Oath of Graduates. Students in the programmes B in Occupational Therapy, BSc in Dietetics, BSc in Physiotherapy and B in Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy do this pledge at an annual ceremony of the Faculty that form an important part of the graduation process at Health Sciences.
This year, some 4 660 Maties will receive their degrees at seven different graduation ceremonies. Tuesday at 17:30, students in the Faculty of Science will get their turn to receive their degrees.