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A critical analysis of pre-hospital clinical mentorship to enable learning in emergency medical care.
For emergency medical care (EMC), clinical mentorship can be thought of as the relationship between the EMC students and qualified emergency care personnel. Through this relationship, students may be guided, supported and provided with information to develop knowledge, skills, and professional attributes needed for delivering quality clinical emergency care. However, this relationship is poorly understood and the focus of this research was to explore how this relationship enabled or constrained learning. Through having experienced mentorship, first as a student in EMC, then as an operational paramedic, mentoring students, I was privy to an insider perspective of clinical mentorship, and the experiences of fellow students‘. Through this experience the practices I observed may not have promoted learning. This is when my interest in pre-hospital clinical mentorship in relation to learning began. The aim of this research was to present a qualitative analysis of the clinical mentorship relationship in pre-hospital EMC involving the qualified pre-hospital emergency care practitioner (ECP) and the EMC student. The objectives included gaining an understanding of what enabled and/or constrained learning EMC, exploring clinical mentorship and learning in the pre-hospital EMC context, and gaining understanding of the role and scope of community members in the clinical mentorship activity system. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively document, by means of a thematic analysis, the pre-hospital clinical mentorship relationship, as well as document, by means of a Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) analysis, the clinical mentorship activity system. The focus of this qualitative documentation was the enablements and constraints to learning during clinical mentorship. This research also made possible recommendations for EMC clinical mentorship and education and may also inform (PBEC) policy, as well as work integrated learning (WIL) policy. Data collection included the use of diaries and focus group interviews. Analysis involved a two-part analysis, where data was reduced and understood with thematic analysis guided by Braun and Clarke (2006) six phase thematic analysis process (explained in Chapter three, Section 3.6). Thereafter, a CHAT analysis was conducted to uncover contradictions within the clinical mentorship activity system that made working on the object of activity difficult, thereby also uncovering constraints to learning. Inductive reasoning was applied to the thematic analysis to reduce data and identify themes and subthemes which provided insight into the enablements and constraints to learning in the pre-hospital EMC clinical mentorship relationship. The CHAT analysis of the data collected and analysed brought to surface the affordances, tensions as well as the primary-level and secondary-level contradictions of the clinical mentorship activity system. The thematic analysis of the clinical mentorship relationship provided limited understanding of the enablements and constraints to learning, and thus further motivated deeper analysis with CHAT. The results of this research included primary and secondary-level contradictions for almost all elements of the clinical mentorship activity system. Contradictions amongst the Division of Labour (DoL), the rules of the activity system, and the tools/resources of the activity system existed in that it constrained the interaction and activity of the subject and the community while working on the object of the activity system possibly achieving a lesser or undesired outcome of clinical mentorship.