Clinical Placement Experiences of International Student Dietitians in Australia

Dorothy Aawulenna, Rachel BACON, Jane KELLETT

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Research has identified a number of placement challenges for interna-tional students in the clinical setting. These include both verbal andnon-verbal language and communication difficulties; cultural integra-tion; and learning style difficulties. This study describes the experiencesof international student dietitians during their professional placementwith regards to language and communication difficulties and considersstrategies to address them. A descriptive qualitative study adopting aninterpretivist pragmatic approach was conducted. Four purposively-selected international student dietitians participated in in-depth per-sonal telephone interviews using a semi-structured interview guidewith four pre-determined questions. Interviews were tape-recorded,transcribed verbatim, and subjected to thematic analysis using theapproach of Braun and Clarke. Five themes emerged from the analysis:(1) Building confidence with dietetics skills; (2) Verbal communicationand cultural integration barriers; (3) Planning, preparation and practice;(4) Pre-placement induction programs; and (5) Networking. This studyfound that international student dietitians face not only similar chal-lenges to those identified in literature but also face profession relatedchallenges. These included inadequate knowledge of local practicessuch as food and social activities and difficulty navigating around place-ment settings and contexts. Placement challenges of international stu-dent dietitians go beyond language and communication issues in theclinical setting, supporting the need for individualised strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number395
Pages (from-to)68
Number of pages1
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue numbers1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


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