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“It’s making contacts”: notions of social capital and implications for widening access to medical education

“It’s making contacts”: notions of social capital and implications for widening access to medical... In the UK widening access (WA) activities and policies aim to increase the representation from lower socio-economic groups into Higher Education. Whilst linked to a political rhetoric of inclusive education such initiatives have however failed to significantly increase the number of such students entering medicine. This is compounded by a discourse that portrays WA applicants and students as lacking the essential skills or attributes to be successful in medical education. Much of the research in this area to date has been weak and it is critical to better understand how WA applicants and students negotiate medical admissions and education to inform change. To address this gap we amalgamated a larger dataset from three qualitative studies of student experiences of WA to medicine (48 participants in total). Inductively analysing the findings using social capital as a theoretical lens we created and clustered codes into categories, informed by the concepts of “weak ties” and “bridging and linking capital”, terms used by previous workers in this field, to better understand student journeys in medical education. Successful applicants from lower socio-economic groups recognise and mobilise weak ties to create linking capital. However once in medical school these students seem less aware of the need for, or how to create, capital effectively. We argue WA activities should support increasing the social capital of under-represented applicants and students, and future selection policy needs to take into account the varying social capital of students, so as to not overtly disadvantage some social groups. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Health Sciences Education Springer Journals

“It’s making contacts”: notions of social capital and implications for widening access to medical education

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by The Author(s)
Subject
Education; Medical Education
ISSN
1382-4996
eISSN
1573-1677
DOI
10.1007/s10459-016-9735-0
pmid
27844179
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the UK widening access (WA) activities and policies aim to increase the representation from lower socio-economic groups into Higher Education. Whilst linked to a political rhetoric of inclusive education such initiatives have however failed to significantly increase the number of such students entering medicine. This is compounded by a discourse that portrays WA applicants and students as lacking the essential skills or attributes to be successful in medical education. Much of the research in this area to date has been weak and it is critical to better understand how WA applicants and students negotiate medical admissions and education to inform change. To address this gap we amalgamated a larger dataset from three qualitative studies of student experiences of WA to medicine (48 participants in total). Inductively analysing the findings using social capital as a theoretical lens we created and clustered codes into categories, informed by the concepts of “weak ties” and “bridging and linking capital”, terms used by previous workers in this field, to better understand student journeys in medical education. Successful applicants from lower socio-economic groups recognise and mobilise weak ties to create linking capital. However once in medical school these students seem less aware of the need for, or how to create, capital effectively. We argue WA activities should support increasing the social capital of under-represented applicants and students, and future selection policy needs to take into account the varying social capital of students, so as to not overtly disadvantage some social groups.

Journal

Advances in Health Sciences EducationSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 14, 2016

References