Occupational Therapy Students experiences and perceptions of culture during fieldwork education

Inge Sonn-De Minck, Nikki Vermeulen


Background: Understanding a clients’ culture allows practitioners to consider the planning of intervention and allows for a client centred approach to be provided. Occupational therapy students can face the challenge of other cultural practices, standards, morals and ways of life coming into conflict with their own culture. Purpose:  There is minimal literature discussing the challenges and supporting factors that assist students in becoming culturally competent across cross-cultural settings. As such this article will focus on occupational therapy student’s experiences and perceptions of culture during their fieldwork practice. Methods: This phenomenological study was conducted with undergraduate occupational therapy students from a university in Cape Town, South Africa. This study explored the students’ experiences of culture, and their perceptions of the barriers and enablers that culture presents during fieldwork practice. Findings: The two main themes that emerged from the analysis, were: 1) Culture is easily defined but not easily described, and 2) Is there no ‘me’ in OT? Implications: The findings of this study questioned whether cultural competence is static but determined that exposure to, positive attitudes towards and self-reflection on culturally diverse experiences are the factors that contribute towards developing cultural competence in culturally diverse situations.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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