An inferential comparison between the capabilities and achievements of 1st-year medical and nursing students at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Background. Research indicates that academic stressors, living circumstances, working conditions and where students undertake leisure activities affect
academic performance, capabilities and achievements (functionings).
Objective. To investigate how 1st-year medical and nursing students perceived their own capabilities compared with their actual achievements (functionings). The article focuses on the achievements (functionings), as these students were admitted through a selection process, indicating their potential capability to succeed.
Methods. In this descriptive, comparative study, all 1st-year medical and nursing students at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
were invited to complete a validated questionnaire to reflect their capabilities (scope) and achievements (outcomes). The questionnaire incorporated seven domains: happiness, achievements, health, intellect, social relations, environment and integrity. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics
(frequencies, medians, means, standard deviations and standard errors).
Results. All respondents valued the domains positively with regard to the outcomes (functionings). On average, nursing students valued the domains
17.4% lower than the medical students. Integrity was valued the highest by all. Health scored the lowest in the medical group, and environment (where
students study and undertake leisure activities) the lowest in the nursing group.
Conclusions. Medical schools should include wellness in their curricula, limit the degree of physical and emotional exhaustion associated with training, and have realistic expectations of students. Programmes should allocate enough time for students to manage their time well to take part in physical activity and eat healthy foods. Nursing students’ work environment should improve. More time should be made available for leisure activities and
improvement to students’ study environment.
A M Gerber, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
R Botes, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen
A Vorster, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
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Date published: 2016-09-09
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