An exploratory study on the competence and service delivery of undergraduate Arab health science students towards people with observable disabilities during clinical placements in the UAE

Bhavana Nair

Programme: PhD in Education

Year of Graduation :2018

 

An exploratory study on the competence and service delivery of undergraduate Arab health science students towards people with observable disabilities during clinical placements in the UAE

 

Disability as a phenomenon is complex as it involves not only people (with and without disability) but their relationships with each other, the environment, assistive technology and social reactions to a myriad of impairments within public and private programmes and laws. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), this becomes even more complex because of the diversity of nationalities involved in terms of ethnicity and racial differentiation. This study has focused on the self-reported competence and service delivery of undergraduate Arab health science students towards people with observable disabilities during their clinical placements. The topic is particularly significant as these students are exposed to people with varying disabilities during their training. Taking pre-conceived notions, values and attitudes will impact their service delivery and hence an understanding of their competence is an essential starting point for preparing students who are entering health science related careers. In this study a mixed methodology was utilised, following a sequential explanatory approach that included a researcher modified self- perceived competence survey on a convenience sample of 590 Arab health science students from a   homogenous population of 4 institutions that are accredited by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in the UAE followed by purposeful sampling that involved semi structured interviews with eighteen clinical tutors and eight people with disabilities. With attitude and knowledge being products of human thought and interaction, the social model of disability was the main framework of this research. The results that were collected were analysed using the SPSS 21 for descriptive and inferential statistics. The NVivo software programme and thematic analysis enabled the researcher to sort, code and analyse the results of the interviews. Analysis of documents like the public health modules of the institutions and clinical workbooks of students were explored as supporting evidence in this study.  Results from the competence scale have indicated moderately positive scores on competence with factors such as gender, mother’s education, institution of the student, prior contact with people with disabilities and technology to be statistically significant influences on the competence and service delivery of undergraduate Arab health science students towards people with observable disabilities during clinical placements in the UAE. The interviews revealed the lived experiences of people with disabilities and the clinical preparedness of the health science students to handle people with disabilities during clinical placements. These findings are significant as this is the first study that has been conducted in the United Arab Emirates on this topic.

 

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