#8 Building a career in HPE with Vanessa Burch

In this wide-ranging conversation, Vanessa and I discuss her 25 years in health professions education and research. We look at the changes that have taken place in the domain over the past 5-10 years and how this has impacted the opportunities available for South African health professions educators in the early stages of their careers.

“That for me is probably the most rewarding thing about my own career; not what I’ve achieved but what I’ve seen others achieve.”

In this episode, we take a slightly different perspective to the topic of health professions education. Instead of speaking to someone who has completed a PhD in HPE, I talk to Vanessa Burch, who has spent almost all of her career establishing HPE as a field of study in the South African context.

Vanessa has a National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award from the Council of Higher Education and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of South Africa (HELTASA), and holds a Teaching at University (TAU) fellowship from the Council for Higher Education of South Africa. She is a Deputy Editor at the journal Medical Education, and Associate Editor of Advances in Health Sciences Education. Vanessa was Professor and Chair of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cape Town from 2008-2018, and is currently Honorary Professor of Medicine at UCT. She works as an educational consultant to the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Vanessa and I discuss her 25 years in health professions education and research. We look at the changes that have taken place in the domain over the past 5-10 years and how this has impacted the opportunities available for South African health professions educators in the early stages of their careers. We talk about developing the confidence to approach people you may want to work with, from the days when you had to be physically present at a conference workshop, to explore novel ways to connect with colleagues in a networked world. We discuss Vanessa’s role in establishing the Southern African FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI), as well as the African Journal of Health Professions Education (AJHPE) and what we might consider when presented with opportunities to drive change in the profession.

Finally, we talk about Vanessa’s method of writing. As a prolific researcher and author, I thought it’d be useful to learn how she approaches writing and publishing, and she shares some really practical advice on how to write intentionally. Even though we didn’t cover Vanessa’s own research interests, you can get a sense of her research activity by visiting her profiles at ResearchGate, LinkedIn and Google Scholar.

WC Journal club: Clinical reasoning skills

On Thursday, 6th June (2013), the Western Cape regional SAAHE committee hosted their first journal club of 2013 at the Tygerberg campus of Stellenbosch University. The topic of the meeting was Clinical Reasoning and was presented by Professors Vanessa Burch (UCT) and Juanita Bezuidenhout (Stellenbosch).

We wanted to experiment with the use of technology to enable those who were unable to attend to also participate in some way. Unfortunately, we were unable to set up both the video or audio broadcast, and didn’t manage to record the audio for later download. However, we did get the Google Document set up, which enabled us to share the notes that were taken at the meeting. We hope that next time we’ll be able to add another aspect to the meeting that will further enable those who can’t attend to benefit from the group discussion – possibly a podcast of the audio. Please bear with us as we learn from our mistakes and continue to improve the service.

Here is the link to the shared document in Google Drive.

Readings:

  • Braude, H. (2013). Human all too human reasoning: Comparing clinical and phenomenological intuition. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 38:173-189.
  • Charlin, B. et al. (2012). Clinical reasoning processes: Unravelling complexity through graphical representation. Medical Education, 46: 454-463.
  • Marcum, J. (2012). An integrated model of clinical reasoning: Dual process theory of cognition and metacognition. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 18: 954-961.