Supporting diverse learning needs on clinical placement
Being Culturally Responsive
A Clinical supervisor in a culturally responsive relationship is described as someone “that acknowledges the existence of, shows interest in, demonstrates knowledge of, and expresses appreciation for the client’s ethnicity and culture and that places the client’s problem in a cultural context” (Burkard et al 2006, 288 as cited in Siggins Miller 2012).
A culturally competent supervisor who can discuss and provide guidance on multicultural issues is greatly valued by students on clinical placement and evokes greater student satisfaction with the supervision (Inman 2006 as cited in Siggins Miller 2012).
Initiating conversation about cultural issues may enhance the supervisory experience and reduce the likelihood of conflict (Gatmon et al 2001 as cited in Siggins Miller 2012).
Visit our 'Developing Cultural Awareness' section for more information and tools to support student development in this area
This section is focussing on common barriers identified in relation to cross-cultural clinical education and how to develop strategies to address them.
Young, 2009 (as cited in Siggins Miller, 2012) has identified the common barriers to effective cross-cultural supervision as:
- Communication Issues
- Differences in values and beliefs
- Cultural insensitivity towards the student
- Difficulties in establishing trust
(Young 2009 as cited in Siggins Miller 2012).
When addressing these barriers, it is important to remember that every student is an individual and understanding your student is essential. If your student is experiencing difficulty on the placement, utilise the ‘Tools For Educators’ as a framework to clearly identify the problem and develop strategies to address.
Effective communication between a Clinical Educator and student is the backbone for success in all placements no matter what the circumstances.
What do culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students need?
The University of Tasmania Student Centre (2012) has identified the following as the needs of CALD students:
- acknowledgement of their experiences;
- acknowledgement of different learning styles;
- acknowledgement of their reality e.g. lack of access to computers, language issues etc;
- acknowledgement of the value of their experiences to the university community;
- assistance to achieve their potential including skill development, cultural adjustment, English language proficiency, computer literacy, information literacy etc;
- to understand what is expected of them and what they can expect of the university; and
- support in facing feelings of isolation and uncertainty and in dealing with racism.
Useful Tips for Communicating Across Cultures
- Be complete, explicit and pay attention to the other person’s response.
- Be alert for different meanings.
- Avoid metaphors, colloquialisms and jargon. Define any jargon that you must use.
- Attempt to be clear while avoiding the over-simplification of terms as it may seem insulting.
- Withhold judgment and set your assumptions aside.
- Study and evaluate cultural generalisations. Understand that even valid generalisations must be carefully considered when applied to individuals.
- Always provide a why. Cultural patterns or rules may seem arbitrary if unexplained. If a student is uncomfortable with a decision or situation, explaining why is important, particularly if the issue is non-negotiable.
- Take the risk! Always remember that you will make mistakes as you learn.
(University of Tasmania Student Centre, 2012)
The University of Tasmania Student Centre (2012) has also developed some suggestions for students which you might like to share with them.
- If you are having difficulty communicating with academic staff or fellow students, seek help from your CALD or faculty Student Adviser.
- Many people choose not to interact with you because they do not want to offend you. Take the risk to talk to initiate conversation. Once people know you are just like them, they will be much more likely to talk with you.
- We all have the same feelings of apprehension in unfamiliar circumstances. Many students in your classes will be feeling just as nervous as you.
- If people express a wish to hear your story, be prepared to tell only those parts of it that you are comfortable talking about.
- Siggins Miller Consultants (2012). Promoting quality in clinical placements: Literature review and national stakeholder consultation. Adelaide: Health Workforce Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.adea.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Promoting-quality-in-clinical-placements-report-20130408.pdf
- University of Tasmania Student Centre (2012). Cross Cultural Awareness and Communication. Retrieved from: https://www.utas.edu.au/students/shw/cross-cultural