School of Medical Theatre Assistants

 Background

Lacor School of Nursing, Laboratory Training School, and Theatre Assistant school are sisters institutions belonging to St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, located within the hospital premises. Lacor Hospital is approximately five kilometres west of Gulu Town, along Juba Road in the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu (Gulu District). The Schools were started in 1973, 1979 and 2015 respectively. The founders were, the late Drs. Piero Corti and Teasdale Lucille. From the beginning to date, the schools have been under separate management but under the same Governance and ownership of Lacor Hospital.

The School of Anaesthesia, on the other hand, is a Government school belonging to the Uganda institutes of Allied Health and Management Sciences, Mulago Kampala.

 Introduction

The Medical Theatre Assistant course, in Lacor, started as a response to the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Sports who saw a gap within the operating theatres and a need to train health care professionals who would assist in running the operating theatres, especially at health centre 1V levels.

The health training institutions, especially the private-not-for-profit, including Lacor were requested to take the lead since there was no known government institution training this cadre.

Lacor Training institution responded positively by taking this course up in 2015 and the pioneer group of 14 students were enrolled in August 2015. The second enrolment took place in September 2016 and it comprised of 15 students.

Although, the course was more female oriented, we have had a big response from males and have been able to enroll more boys because they turn out in great numbers and pass the interview well.

 About the Course

This is a two-year course, leading to the award of a certificate as a Medical Theatre Assistant.

It comprises four semesters and each semester is four months in length. The course activities involve classroom lectures, practical sessions in the demonstration room/ skills lab as well as clinical practice in the operating theatres and the surgical wards attached.

Assessment tests are carried out alongside classroom lectures and practice and these constitute 15% of the end-of-semester examinations which are set by the Uganda Allied Health Examination Board. This body is responsible for certifying them and after qualification, results are registered and students offered practicing licenses by the Allied Health Professional Council.

Recruitment Criteria

Advertisement is run through the month of April and application forms are provided to the intending applicants. Fees vary from year to year.

The intending applicants should meet the following standards: –

  1. Academic Papers, at least a pass in English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
  2. The age limit is between 18-40 years of age
  3. Attainment of UACE and working experience in a similar field is an added advantage.

Interviews are conducted in May and successful candidates report for training in September for the start of the first semester.

 Job Description of a Medical Theatre Assistant

  1. The chief task is to ensure that patients have the best possible care throughout surgery.
  2. To prepare and maintain operating theatres and equipment
  3. Sterilization of supplies and knowledge of the articles needed to help surgeons during operations.
  4. Responsible for getting the patient ready for surgery by cleaning the skin where the incision will be made, applying drapes and helping the surgery team prepare
  5. Capacity to operate theatre equipment and perform minor repair on it within the operating theatres and emergency rooms.
  6. Assist surgical and anaesthetic teams before, during, and after operations
  7. Provides support to patients in the recovery rooms
  8. Oversees the smooth functioning of clinical equipments used for clinical procedures, performed during surgery and post operative care
  9. Assist a medical specialist with therapeutic and organ system support procedures in operative and post-operative care.
  10. Perform infection prevention and control measures within and around the operating theatres as well as promoting quality assurance.