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Intersectional identities: making sense of skill development on clinical placements

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlotte RichardsonORCiD, Jack Filan, Dr Laura LindseyORCiD, Dr Amy-Madeleine Mundell, Dr Adam RathboneORCiD, Dr Hamde Nazar



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


ObjectiveLittle is known about the influence of personal experiences on learners’ trajectories toward mastery. Newell’s theory of constraints articulates the relationship between environmental, individual, and task-related factors for skill development. This study explores how undergraduate pharmacy students experience skill development on placements and what the barriers and facilitators are within Newell’s framework.MethodsYear 3 undergraduate pharmacy students were invited to take part in focus groups exploring Newell’s theory relative to skill development. Verbatim transcripts were analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological approach.ResultsFive focus groups were conducted with 16 students. The placement task provided structure through entrustable professional activities (EPAs). The resulting skill development varied but included EPA expected behaviors and also skills for mastery, eg, self-reflection. Students’ personal identities acted as both barriers and facilitators. For example, expecting or experiencing racial microaggressions limited participation; having a local accent facilitated rapport with patients. Students worked toward integration into the community of practice (the ward), where the staff was critical to inclusion. Where students had barriers related to their identities, they found it more difficult to access the community of practice.ConclusionFactors related to the community of practice (environment), students’ identities (individual), and the EPA behaviors (task) can influence skill development during placement. For some students, these factors will be more prevalent, and elements of their identities may intersect and conflict, acting as both barriers and facilitators to skill development. Educators can consider the influence of intersectionality on student identity when designing and preparing new placements and assessing students.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Richardson CL, Filan J, Lindsey L, Mundell A, Rathbone AP, Nazar H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Year: 2023

Volume: 87

Issue: 7

Print publication date: 22/05/2005

Online publication date: 15/03/2023

Acceptance date: 11/01/2023

Date deposited: 05/06/2023

ISSN (print): 0002-9459

ISSN (electronic): 1553-6467

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.ajpe.2023.01.006

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/knh9-m284


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