Engagement of dietetic students and students with hearing loss : experiences and perceptions of both groups
CITATION: Smit, Y., et al. 2018. Engagement of dietetic students and students with hearing loss : experiences and perceptions of both groups. African Journal of Health Professions Education, 10(1):31-37, doi:10.7196/AJHPE.2018.v10i1.901.
The original publication is available at http://www.ajhpe.org.za
Background. Final-year dietetic students from Stellenbosch University (SU) present selected training sessions during their Rural Clinical School (RCS) rotation to professional cookery students of the National Institute for the Deaf (NID). Objective. To describe experiences and perceptions of dietetic students and NID students before and after training sessions. Methods. A descriptive, phenomenological approach was followed. SU students (N=23) reflected on experiences before and after providing training to NID students. Two focus group discussions were conducted with NID students (N=19) after training to explore their experiences related to the training. An experienced interpreter facilitated discussion topics using South African Sign Language (SASL). Voice recordings were transcribed verbatim and thematic content analysis was performed manually. Results. NID students described feelings of uncertainty and fear of the unknown prior to the training. These feelings turned to excitement and curiosity as the presentations continued. They were positive about the learning experience and described it as wonderful and interesting. SU students described it as challenging, but valuable in gaining insight into living with deafness. The experience positively influenced their professional and personal development. Students were appreciative of and grateful for the opportunity to engage with and learn from each other. Suggestions were made to improve future training sessions based on identified barriers, such as overcoming communication challenges and clarifying reciprocal misperceptions. Perceptions changed when similarities between student groups were realised. Conclusion. The overwhelmingly positive experience of both groups is a strong motivation to continue with this initiative. SU students recognised the importance of health promotion to persons with impairments.