A toolkit devised by students is guiding practice educators on how to support those from minorities
‘I’m never going to remember that, do you have something shorter?’ This was the first response from a practice educator on hearing the name of their placement student.
When you come from a minority ethnic background, as that student did, these devaluing and disrespectful experiences add up to a serious disadvantage – reflected by the fact such students receive lower marks on their practice placements than their peers, according to academic studies.
My student placement project, Bridging The Gap, aimed to make a change by giving educators the tools to create an environment for students from minority ethnic backgrounds to succeed and to help the next batch of educators to succeed as well.
I was fortunate that when I experienced racist behaviour from a patient, my educator was clear this was unacceptable and highlighted the option to refuse treatment.
This kind of listening and understanding is key. Work out how your student learns, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, so you build a relationship with them that helps them flourish.
Don’t brush concerns under the carpet, but work with students to find solutions.
Get comfortable talking about difficult topics. Role models in your trust can help – so put students in touch with mentors in your BAME or LGBTQI+ network.
They will know what it’s like to be stared at by every patient when you walk onto a ward. Or how having all eyes on you makes you feel pressured not to make a single mistake.
Educators are not only teachers, but leaders, role models and mentors – students from ethnic minorities need them to be allies too.
So, as this new academic year starts, know how to support students like me.
Together we can ensure future generations of physios won’t have to face these issues.
Find out more in our webinar Bridging The Gap How to support BAME students on placement – YouTube.
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