Frantz J.1, Kachale W.1
1University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

Background: Health related faculty development programs are one form of capacity building intervention that have gained global recognition in a number of locations including South Africa (Steinert, Nasmith, Mcleod & Conochie, 2003). In addition faculty initiatives are also viewed as key strategies in strengthening professional identities, enlarging and creating networks among different health professionals (Burdick, Moharan & Norcin, 2006; Liff et al.,2012). Professional development commonly termed as an on-going acquisition of skills, enhanced professionalism and coupled with career development; still remains one of the popular incentives and outcome measure tied to a number of faculty Interventions.

Purpose: Unfortunately, there is still limited information in countries such as South Africa and Africa at large on the impact of such initiatives on the personal and professional development especially following an exposure to such capacity development strategies. This is gap is even more vivid among professional health educators such as physiotherapy who are increasingly getting exposed to faculty development programs. Thus this study aimed to explore and describe how a faculty development program has personally and professionally impacted physiotherapy educators in South Africa.

Methods: This study employed a qualitative design using in-depth interviews. The study population include both male and female physiotherapy educators teaching in South Africa who have been exposed to the SAFRI faculty development programme over the period of 2008 to 2015. At the time of the study, 11 South African physiotherapy educators had been exposed to the programme and thus all were purposively selected to participate in the study. Contact details were obtained from SAFRI administration. . The researcher contacted all participants via e-mail to explain the aim of the study and request them to participate. Once participants had given informed consent to participate in the study the researcher organised appointments to meet with the participants at a time and venue suitable for them to conduct the interviews. A thematic analysis was used for this study where the raw data was transcribed verbatim. The emerging ideas and preliminary themes were then coded and categorised based on the objectives and predetermined themes from the conceptual frame work and also the objectives of the project.

Results: Three themes emerged namely (1) personal growth which included capacity development, professional development and personal development; (2) Initiatives to drive health professions education which includes building a community of practice and capacity building and finally (3) Addressing the health professions education needs which includes gap analysis, interprofessional education and 21st century graduates.

Conclusion(s): Faculty development initiatives are essential as we build physiotherapy education both nationally and internationally. With interprofessional faculty development programs we will be able to drive the health professions education agenda better.

Implications: As part of the health professionals, physiotherapists should be part of deciding and shaping the health professions agenda.

Funding acknowledgements: We would like to acknowledge the NRF for there contribution in making this project possible

Topic: Education: continuing professional development

Ethics approval: Ethical clearance and approval was obtained from the University of Western Cape Research and Ethics Committee.

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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