Health Professionals REACHing for Excellence at Orientation
First year students at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences were welcomed with an action-packed Orientation Day, being treated to several informative sessions in an infotainment style.
Director of Professional Services, Professor Fanie Botha, welcomed students assuring them they had made the right decision by joining the leading institution in the country for health sciences education and research. He also shared the College’s Motto: “Every Student Matters”.
Botha advised students to: ‘start studying immediately and use your time wisely. If you happen to experience failure recover quickly and learn from it; exercise good judgement at all times, be open-minded and make new friends who are different and enjoy the diverse experiences.’
College Manager for Academic Student Services, Mrs Ranitha Ramdeyal, advised students about what was expected of them, encouraging them to constantly check the University emails, keep the College handbook close and the rules book even closer.
Ramdeyal said they should be proud to be part of the College. Of the 215 000 applications received for first-year places at UKZN, 60 790 were specifically for places in College of Health Sciences. The College received 7 643 applications for 250 places in the first-year MBChB programme, 16 140 applicants competed for 70 first-year places in Nursing, and 37 000 applications were received for 470 places in the various Health Sciences programmes offered.
Students were reminded of available resources and services where they could get assistance if they were struggling to cope.
College Manager for Student Support Services, Dr Saloschini Pillay, gave an overview of the support services. She said students frequently experienced anxiety and stress around academic, social, emotional or financial issues.
‘While most students cope adequately with these pressures and demands, some become overwhelmed, and without constructive help their sense of wellbeing and academic performance may be threatened,’ said Pillay.
Student Support Services helps students regain the emotional balance necessary to cope with the demands of university life. ‘The University offers self-care counselling and academic mentoring,’ said Pillay.
Finance and Projects Officer for the Medical Students Representative Council, Ms Heena Vallab, encouraged students to assess self-performance. ‘What did I do wrong? How can I improve myself? – were questions that needed to be posed. Knowing your weaknesses makes you strong,’ said Vallab. ‘Choose your friends wisely, set your standards and mix with people that fit your personal model and be professional at all times,’ she added.
Deepa Singh of the Occupational Therapy Department shared the University’s R.E.A.C.H. principles - Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Client Orientation and Honesty. Several activities were performed to instil these principles into the minds of students.
UKZN Health Promoter from the HIV/AIDS Programme, Ms Eleanor Langley, shared information about student life and their rights. She made them aware of all the available health facilities and also all the sexually transmitted diseases that can hinder their progress.