Supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students during clinical placement: Strategies from both sides of the table Approaches to teaching and learning

Sharleen L. O'Reilly*, Julia Milner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Increasing proportions of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) students within health professional courses at universities creates challenges in delivering inclusive training and education. Clinical placements are a core component of most health care degrees as they allow for applied learning opportunities. A research gap has been identified in regard to understanding challenges and strategies for CALD students in health professional placements. Methods: A key stakeholder approach was used to examine barriers and enablers experienced by CALD students in clinical placement. Semi-structured focus groups with healthcare students (n=13) and clinical placement supervisors (n=12) were employed. The focus groups were analysed using open coding and thematic analysis. Results: Three main barrier areas were identified: placement planning and preparation; teaching, assessment and feedback; and cultural and language issues. Potential solutions included addressing placement planning and preparation barriers, appropriate student placement preparation, pre-placement identification of higher risk CALD students, and diversity training for supervisors. For the barrier of teaching, assessment & feedback, addressing strategies were to: adapt student caseloads, encourage regular casual supervisor-student conversations, develop supportive placement delivery modes and structures, set expectations early, model the constructive feedback process, use visual aids, and tailor the learning environment to individual student needs. The enablers for cultural & language issues were to: build language and practical approaches for communication, raise awareness of the healthcare system (how it interacts with healthcare professions and how patients access it), and initiate mentoring programs. Conclusions: The findings suggest that teaching and learning strategies should be student-centred, aiming to promote awareness of difference and its impacts then develop appropriate responses by both student and teacher. Universities and partnering agencies, such as clinical training providers, need to provide an inclusive learning environment for students from multiple cultural backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Challenges
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) students
  • Placements
  • Strategies

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