A comparison of the content taught in critical care transportation modules across South African bachelor's degrees in emergency medical care

N. J. Conradie, C. Vincent-Lambert, W. Stassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and objective. Critical care transport (CCT) involves the movement of critically ill patients between healthcare facilities. South Africa (SA), like other low- to middle-income countries, has a relative shortage of ICU beds, making CCT an inevitability. In SA, CCTs are mostly done by emergency care practitioners; however, it is unclear how universities offering Bachelor in Emergency Medical Care (BEMC) courses approach their teaching in critical care and whether the content taught is consistent between institutions. In our study we formally evaluate and compare the intensive and critical care transport modules offered at SA universities in their BEMC programmes. Methods. The electronic version of curricula of the critical care transport modules from higher education institutes in SA offering the BEMC were subjected to document analysis. Qualitative (inductive content analysis) and quantitative (descriptive analysis) methods were used to describe and compare the different components of the curriculum. Curricula were assigned into components and sub-components according to accepted definitions of curricula. The components included: aims, goals, composition and objectives of the course; content or teaching material and work-integrated learning. Results. The four universities that offer BEMC programmes were invited to participate, and three (75%) consented and provided data. The duration of the modules ranged from 6 to 12 months, corresponding with notional hours of 120 - 150. A total of 83 learning domains were generated from the coding process. These domains included content on mechanical ventilation, patient monitoring, arterial blood gases, infusions and fluid balance, and patient preparation and transfer. Two universities had identical structures and learning outcomes, while one had a different structure and outcomes; it corresponded with a 58% similarity. Clinical placements were in critical and emergency care units, operating theatres and prehospital clinical services. Conclusion. In all components compared, the universities offering BEMC were more similar than they were different. It is unclear whether the components taught are relevant to the SA patient population and healthcare system context, or whether students are adequately prepared for clinical practice. Postgraduate educational programmes might need to be developed to equip emergency care practitioners to function in this environment safely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern African Journal of Critical Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • critical care transport
  • emergency medicine
  • medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of the content taught in critical care transportation modules across South African bachelor's degrees in emergency medical care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this