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Title: Exploring the academic experience of medical students from a non-traditional socio-economic background : a study of their models of learning and professionalisation within an undergraduate medical curriculum
Author: Nicholson, Sandra
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Students from lower socio-economic groups remain underrepresented in UK medical schools. This enquiry explores the perspectives of medical student participants to better understand how medical students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may be perceived, their experience of an undergraduate medical curriculum, and any issues concerned with what is required for them to learn in order to become doctors. A conceptual framework that encompasses both sociological and sociocultural learning theories that enable the professional development and learning processes of medical students, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in particular, to be better understood was required. Theoretical concepts from the literature informed the iterative development of the research questions that addressed student perspectives, the relational aspects between student practice and medical school structures including the medical culture, and how student participation is pivotal to their learning. An interpretive methodology including focus groups and individual interviews was used to access the perspectives of medical students from across the curriculum of one medical school. Analysis used a priori concepts and a modified grounded theory approach which generated three main categories of themes: who becomes a doctor, students’ developmental processes and issues underlying their learning. Non-traditional medical students were found to possess certain socioeconomic characteristics that distinguished them from their peers from a more advantaged background. For some students this led to disadvantage inherent in their differing patterns of socialisation, issues with developing an effective medical habitus and resultant professional identity, and reduced or less effective participation in authentic learning activities. A more nuanced nondualistic understanding of the nature of medical professional knowledge and the undergraduate curriculum by incorporating a more balanced approach to the insights afforded by participatory models of learning have several implications for both medical pedagogy and medical student practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Lifelong and Comparative Education