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An empirical exploration of the impact of dyslexia on placement-based learning, and a comparison with non-dyslexic students

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There is an emerging body of evidence about how dyslexia affects the performance of healthcare workers and students in practice. At times, concerns have been raised that dyslexia may affect competency and patient safety. There is growing understanding in the health professions about what dyslexia is and what type of support might help dyslexic individuals in their practice. This paper describes a mixed-method study that explored the impact of dyslexia on learning in the practice setting. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 lecturer-practitioners and 9 student nurses who had declared their dyslexia on entry to their course. The findings were used to develop questionnaires about the ease or difficulty of various practice activities. These were completed by 54 students with dyslexia and 52 non-dyslexic students.

The interviews revealed wide variation in the type and extent of the difficulties described by students with dyslexia. Handovers, dealing with documentation and drug calculations and administration were the most problematic areas. Quantitative data suggested that all students, whether or not they had dyslexia, found drug calculations and handovers difficult (P > 0.05). Both groups rated placement activities and feelings towards placements very similarly.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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