Experiences of undergraduate African health sciences students: A hermeneutic inquiry
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While efforts have been made to understand the experiences of African students in predominantly white environments, the experiences of African students in clinical placement areas have rarely been explored. This paper is a report on a study designed to address the gap in educational research on the experiences of African health sciences students in clinical placements in predominantly white environments. Interviews adopting an open approach to conversations were conducted with nine African students from three health disciplines at one metropolitan university in Australia between 2012 and 2013. Interview transcripts were analyzed using philosophical hermeneutics, where shared meanings were arrived at by employing key Gadamerian hermeneutic components. Findings revealed a number of factors that had a direct effect on the meaning students derived from their clinical placement experiences. These, as revealed in the interlinked domains of body, space, relationships, and time included difference, acceptance, resilience, and cultural sensitivity. Insights from this study may lead to the adoption of strategies designed to improve the experiences of African students studying health sciences in predominantly white environments.
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