The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Challenging the deficit discourse in medical schools through reverse mentoring: using discourse analysis to explore staff perceptions of underrepresented medical students

Challenging the deficit discourse in medical schools through reverse mentoring: using discourse analysis to explore staff perceptions of underrepresented medical students
Challenging the deficit discourse in medical schools through reverse mentoring: using discourse analysis to explore staff perceptions of underrepresented medical students
Introduction: despite the increasing diversity of UK medical students, students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, some minority groups and members of communities with protected identities remain underrepresented in medicine. In trying to ascertain why this underrepresentation persists, literature focuses on the barriers and challenges faced by underrepresented students as opposed to the institution’s responsibility to remove or mitigate these obstacles. One UK University created a reverse mentoring scheme enabling students to mentor senior members of the medical faculty to help them understand the perspectives and experiences of students from minority backgrounds. This paper explores whether changes in staff perceptions of underrepresented students resulted from engaging with reverse mentoring.
Methods: this qualitative study explored the impact of the reverse mentoring scheme. Staff mentees were required to write a narrative text about the Higher Education journey of an underrepresented medical student before and after the reverse mentoring intervention. These texts were compared using discourse analysis to identify shifts in language use that demonstrated a change in perceptions.
Results: the key themes from 5 senior staff members indicate a positive change in staff characterisation of the students and an acceptance of institutional responsibility for challenges faced. Initial texts revealed a superficial understanding of the student journey that focused on individual deficit but had fairy tale endings depicting the medical school as benevolent. The follow up texts revealed a deeper understanding reflected by the portrayal of students as capable agents and containing pragmatic endings acknowledging the responsibility of the medical school.
Conclusion: these findings highlight how removed senior staff can be from the reality of the student experience and that engaging with reverse mentoring helps to raise awareness and challenges the students face. This suggests a route for constructive change in medical schools and endorses the benefits of facilitating open discussion around educational inequity.
deficit discourse, diversity, inclusion,, reverse-mentoring
2044-6055
Curtis, Sally
5a29627a-42fd-4098-a6da-3f6df4443fa8
Mozley, Heather
9091a5d2-9c38-44e4-b386-5c0fc8f9fb2f
Langford, Chloe
755daff6-1896-4496-97be-f222ceed4129
Hartland, Joseph
ccc1d72a-f6e9-4199-9067-e62747889654
Kelly, Jacquie
59f83776-cf40-40be-baa2-5bd4d93a34f4
Curtis, Sally
5a29627a-42fd-4098-a6da-3f6df4443fa8
Mozley, Heather
9091a5d2-9c38-44e4-b386-5c0fc8f9fb2f
Langford, Chloe
755daff6-1896-4496-97be-f222ceed4129
Hartland, Joseph
ccc1d72a-f6e9-4199-9067-e62747889654
Kelly, Jacquie
59f83776-cf40-40be-baa2-5bd4d93a34f4

Curtis, Sally, Mozley, Heather, Langford, Chloe, Hartland, Joseph and Kelly, Jacquie (2021) Challenging the deficit discourse in medical schools through reverse mentoring: using discourse analysis to explore staff perceptions of underrepresented medical students. BMJ Open, 11 (12), [e054890]. (doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054890).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Introduction: despite the increasing diversity of UK medical students, students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, some minority groups and members of communities with protected identities remain underrepresented in medicine. In trying to ascertain why this underrepresentation persists, literature focuses on the barriers and challenges faced by underrepresented students as opposed to the institution’s responsibility to remove or mitigate these obstacles. One UK University created a reverse mentoring scheme enabling students to mentor senior members of the medical faculty to help them understand the perspectives and experiences of students from minority backgrounds. This paper explores whether changes in staff perceptions of underrepresented students resulted from engaging with reverse mentoring.
Methods: this qualitative study explored the impact of the reverse mentoring scheme. Staff mentees were required to write a narrative text about the Higher Education journey of an underrepresented medical student before and after the reverse mentoring intervention. These texts were compared using discourse analysis to identify shifts in language use that demonstrated a change in perceptions.
Results: the key themes from 5 senior staff members indicate a positive change in staff characterisation of the students and an acceptance of institutional responsibility for challenges faced. Initial texts revealed a superficial understanding of the student journey that focused on individual deficit but had fairy tale endings depicting the medical school as benevolent. The follow up texts revealed a deeper understanding reflected by the portrayal of students as capable agents and containing pragmatic endings acknowledging the responsibility of the medical school.
Conclusion: these findings highlight how removed senior staff can be from the reality of the student experience and that engaging with reverse mentoring helps to raise awareness and challenges the students face. This suggests a route for constructive change in medical schools and endorses the benefits of facilitating open discussion around educational inequity.

Text
e054890.full - Version of Record
Download (461kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 30 November 2021
Published date: 24 December 2021
Keywords: deficit discourse, diversity, inclusion,, reverse-mentoring

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 453463
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/453463
ISSN: 2044-6055
PURE UUID: 674ccc03-7873-4ed6-946f-d48bff476c5f
ORCID for Sally Curtis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8026-6284

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Jan 2022 17:34
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 01:44

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Sally Curtis ORCID iD
Author: Heather Mozley
Author: Chloe Langford
Author: Joseph Hartland
Author: Jacquie Kelly

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×