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Cultural awareness in veterinary practice: Student perceptions

Mills, J.N., Volet, S.E. and Fozdar, F. (2011) Cultural awareness in veterinary practice: Student perceptions. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 38 (3). pp. 288-297.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jvme.38.3.288
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Abstract

Australian veterinary classrooms are increasingly diverse and their growing internal diversity is a result of migration and large numbers of international students. Graduates interact with other students and increasingly with clients whose attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors differ from their own. An understanding and respect for these differences has an impact on client communication and health care outcomes. The present study explored how students understand and are likely to deal with issues of cultural diversity in veterinary professional practice as well as the educational needs that students feel should be met in regard to preparation to engage productively with diversity in professional practice. The present study also explored the extent to which the rich diversity of the undergraduate student population constitutes an educational resource. A class of final-year veterinary students was invited to participate in a workshop exploring intercultural confidence in veterinary consultation. Twelve groups of six to eight students discussed a fictitious scenario involving a challenging clinical encounter with a client from a different culture. Students were reticent to see the scenario in terms of cultural difference, although they generally recognized that awareness of cultural issues in veterinary practice was important. They also tended to not see their own ethnicity as relevant to their practice. While some felt that veterinary practice should be culture blind, most recognized a need to orient to cultural difference and to respond sensitively. Their suggestions for curricular improvements to address these issues are also included.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Copyright: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/6137
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