Health personnel education and management: Interview with Margaret Tusiime Tumwebaze on her PhD

Categories: Education.

Well done and congratulations! Do tell us Margaret, what was the first thing you thought of having heard the news about your success? 

I couldn’t believe it and every time I thought about it I felt tears coming in my eyes. I never get excited by achievements but this one overwhelmed me. I have never felt like this in my life. 

Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to look at e-learning for your PhD? 

My passion for technology and being involved in e-learning at my workplace inspired me into finding a solution to shortage of staff in health units and failure of health workers to pursue further studies because of commitments to their families and high training costs. 

I felt e-learning would reduce travel and accommodation costs for health workers as they take on further studies and enable workers to continue working as they study, thus minimizing shortages in health units. 

What have been your key findings? 

It is very possible for e-learning to be implemented in health institutions in Uganda as long as there is an internet connection. There are a number of open source tools that can be used like Moodle, Edmodo, Google docs and WordPress. Infrastructure required like power supply, computers, internet connection, support from IT, student support, are affordable as long as the administration of the institution intending to implement e-learning prioritizes it and includes it in the strategic plan. 

For e-learning to be a success, institutions need to use tools that are affordable and which can enable the use of various pedagogical approaches. Ensuring availability and effectiveness of infrastructure, availing required resources, and using pedagogical approaches in technology are significant success factors for e-learning. 

How do you see this applying to palliative care? 

With e-learning, as many health workers (in-service and pre-service) as possible can be trained in palliative care. This will increase the number of health workers trained in palliative care at a time and increase access to palliative care.  

And what have you learned about yourself through this process?

I have learnt a lot. My PhD involved both course work and research. From the course work I have enhanced my knowledge in management, leadership, policies, education and research. From the thesis, I have gained tremendous knowledge in e-learning.  

How do you see what you have learned informing your work at HAU? 

I am actually implementing 70% of what I have learnt at my workplace. I am able to transfer the knowledge I have acquired to the people I supervise. I am only limited by time and sometimes resources.  

What would you like to see people following you picking up on? 

People following me need to know that determination, commitment, and persistence lead to success.  

What advice would you give others’ treading that path of PhD whilst working? 

They need to be determined and self directed. They need to put aside almost everything including socialisation and spare time for studying. They should have good time management skills.