Impact & Opinions | Tionchar & Tuairimí

Student Stories: Drawn to Ireland from South Africa

Student Stories: Drawn to Ireland from South Africa

29 July 21
 | 5 MINS

A South African medic shares her experience of internationalisation and connecting with Ireland through education.

The connection between South Africa and Ireland stretches back several centuries, with the first Irish Society founded in the first quarter of the 19th century in Cape Town.

During the Boer war, 30,000 Irish Soldiers fought on the British side, and there was even an Irish Brigade joined the Boer side. Currently, about 38,000 Irish citizens are residing in South Africa. Interestingly, I found out that I have O’Reilly blood on my maternal grandfather’s side, and Professor Dara Byrne, Director of Simulation at ICAPPS at NUI Galway, has a uniquely South African connection. My love affair with Ireland started in 2012 when I was fortunate enough to visit Dublin and see the Book of Kells.

So, perhaps that would explain the natural universal pull I experienced when I decided to apply at a university in Ireland. It was the first time that I had applied to an overseas university, and

I now have the distinction of being the first student from Africa who enrolled for the Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare Simulation and Patient Safety at NUI Galway.

My interest in simulation-based education started when I identified a need for continued postgraduate skills development and training in the field of critical care in the private health sector in South Africa. I wanted to obtain a formal qualification in simulation, and the course offered by NUI Galway ticked all the boxes in terms of curricular content and the fact that I could do it online.

The Healthcare Simulation and Patient Safety postgraduate program offered by NUI Galway has the distinction of being one of only a handful of such qualifications currently on offer worldwide. The curriculum has been carefully and uniquely crafted to incorporate all aspects of adult learning theories and simulation-specific topics, focusing on elements in training programs and clinical practice that directly impact patient safety.

The simulation educator team at ICAPPS are vibrant, dynamic, and hands-on individuals and distinguished experts in their field. They actively drive research and prodigiously publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. They constantly find innovative ways of incorporating simulation-based experiences in their pre-and postgraduate training programs. I find their work and passion for simulation education inspirational.

Since successfully completing the Postgraduate Diploma in 2019, I have applied the simulation-based educational principles I have learned in private-based point-of-care ultrasound workshops hosted by Critnet Skills Laboratory, and since my return to academic medicine at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the University of Pretoria in February 2021, being involved with enhancing current and future curricular content in the Department of Internal Medicine with simulation-based educational experiences, as well as the application of simulation-based education in resource-limited and rural settings.

I look forward to a continued relationship with Ireland and building a Gaelic-African collaboration between the simulation educators at NUI Galway and the University of Pretoria.

Dr Bösenberg is currently working at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the University of Pretoria


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