Academic Leader : Medicine
Internal Medicine is the discipline that provides Specialist Medical care for individuals over the age of 12 years, which is a continuation of where Paediatric Medicine ends. As such, it is referred to as Adult Medicine, whose upper age limit is old age, in comparison to Paediatrics, which ends at age 12 years, with a slight overlap into adolescence in some fields. Internal Medicine encompasses the fields of Cardiology, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Infectious Diseases, Pulmonology, Nephrology, Neurology and Dermatology and General Medicine. A sub-Specialist in Internal Medicine must first complete four years of training in Internal Medicine, after completing the MBChB degree. At General Internal Medicine Specialist level, there is expertise to cover all these fields within what is referred to as General Medicine and more in-depth specialist focus is provided at sub-Specialist level in each field.
General Medicine is responsible for driving the undergraduate and postgraduate specialist training. All sub-Specialty departments contribute to the undergraduate and postgraduate specialist training, in addition to providing sub-Specialty training programs in respective fields. Very closely linked departments that share the same teaching program with Internal Medicine are Dermatology and Haematology.
The Discipline of Internal Medicine carries a large service load in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape. The undergraduate program is also large with teaching provided at 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th year levels. There is also contribution to other disciplines in Health Sciences and MBChB year 1 and 2.
At any given time, there are 450 students allocated to the Department in blocks and 1083 students altogether allocated in 2018. These numbers are increasing with the students on the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro Collaboration returning to South Africa.
At 3rd year, students receive twenty weeks of clinical teaching and lectures, followed by theory and clinical examinations. At 4th year, 12 weeks clinical exposure and lectures is followed by a clinical and portfolio examination. At 5th and 6th year, six weeks block clinical teaching is followed by theory and clinical examinations, with a mandatory mid-block assessment at 6th year. Internal Medicine, as such, carries the largest number of students at any given time in the year.