Monash University

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Experiences of undergraduate African health sciences students: a hermeneutic inquiry

posted on 2017-02-09, 03:20 authored by Inyama, Davis
This study was designed to explore the experiences of African health sciences students who require clinical placement as part of their educational qualification. Efforts have been made to explore the experiences of minority population students in predominantly white learning institutions but no special emphasis has been placed on those of African students, a marginalized population. This study therefore aimed to bring to light the meaning derived from the experiences of African students undertaking clinical placements in predominantly white environments. Interviews adopting an open approach to conversations were conducted with nine African students from three health sciences disciplines between September 2012 and January 2013. The transcripts were analysed using philosophical hermeneutics and shared meanings were arrived at by employing key hermeneutic components as suggested by Has- Georg Gadamer. The existential framework as described by Munhall (2007) was adopted to categorize the experiences under the auspices of lived space, lived body, lived relationships and lived time. Results point to a number of factors in the students' background that have a direct effect on the meaning they derived from their experience of clinical placements. The apparent casual nature of the host culture and perceptions held about Africans are some of the key elements that shaped the experiences of the African students. Insights from this study may have implications for higher education personnel and student affairs professionals, leading to the adoption of policies aimed at improving the overall experiences of African students in the clinical setup and by larger extend those of minority population students in predominantly white environments.


Principal supervisor

Allison Williams

Additional supervisor 1

Kay McCauley

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location



Master of Nursing

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences