INTRODUCTION : Compulsory community service (CCS) is a concept that was adopted by many countries as a strategy to address the shortage of health workers. CCS was initiated in 1997 in the South African healthcare system to alleviate improper distribution of health workers in the public sector. CCS experiences of various health professions excluding radiographers were explored where debates regarding the impact, experiences and perceptions of the CCS year are ongoing. This study aimed to describe the perceptions and short-term experiences of newly qualified radiographers performing CCS in Gauteng, South Africa.
METHODS : A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted using a questionnaire distributed to 81 newly qualified radiographers who had started CCS in the Gauteng province in 2017 across 11 radiology departments. A response rate of 48.1% (n = 39) was obtained.
RESULTS : Newly qualified radiographers understood the objectives of CCS and felt adequately prepared for their roles as CCS radiographers in terms of education skills acquired and role expectations. Participants felt confident to commence their duties and were not intimidated by their work environments. Orientation, mentoring and supervision were identified to be the main challenges during the CCS year.
CONCLUSION : The concept of CCS is widely accepted and regarded beneficial by CCS radiographers. Similar challenges emerged as reported by other health professionals despite the presence of role models. The development and implementation of structured guidelines regarding orientation and mentoring of CCS health professionals is strongly recommended to address the needs identified by this study.