International students in speech-language pathology clinical education placements: Perceptions of experience and competency development

Stacie Attrill, Michelle Lincoln, Sue McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to describe perceptions of clinical placement experiences and competency development for international speech-language pathology students and to determine if these perceptions were different for domestic students. Method: Domestic and international students at two Australian universities participated in nine focus group interviews. Thematic analysis led to the identification of two themes shared by international and domestic students and several separate themes. Result: Shared themes identified the important influence of students' relationships with clinical educators, unique opportunities and learning that occurs on placement. International student themes included concerns about their communication skills and the impact of these skills on client progress. They also explored their adjustment to unfamiliar placement settings and relationships, preferring structured placements to assist this adjustment. Domestic student themes explored the critical nature of competency attainment and assessment on placement, valuing placements that enabled them to achieve their goals. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that international students experience additional communication, cultural and contextual demands on clinical placement, which may increase their learning requirements. Clinical education practices must be responsive to the learning needs of diverse student populations. Strategies are suggested to assist all students to adjust to the professional and learning expectations of clinical education placements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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