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Int J Med Educ. 2017 Mar 17;8:91-98. doi: 10.5116/ijme.58ba.7c68.

How does culture affect experiential training feedback in exported Canadian health professional curricula?

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College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.



To explore feedback processes of Western-based health professional student training curricula conducted in an Arab clinical teaching setting.


This qualitative study employed document analysis of in-training evaluation reports (ITERs) used by Canadian nursing, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, paramedic, dental hygiene, and pharmacy technician programs established in Qatar. Six experiential training program coordinators were interviewed between February and May 2016 to explore how national cultural differences are perceived to affect feedback processes between students and clinical supervisors. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded according to a priori cultural themes.


Document analysis found all programs' ITERs outlined competency items for students to achieve. Clinical supervisors choose a response option corresponding to their judgment of student performance and may provide additional written feedback in spaces provided. Only one program required formal face-to-face feedback exchange between students and clinical supervisors. Experiential training program coordinators identified that no ITER was expressly culturally adapted, although in some instances, modifications were made for differences in scopes of practice between Canada and Qatar.  Power distance was recognized by all coordinators who also identified both student and supervisor reluctance to document potentially negative feedback in ITERs. Instances of collectivism were described as more lenient student assessment by clinical supervisors of the same cultural background. Uncertainty avoidance did not appear to impact feedback processes.


Our findings suggest that differences in specific cultural dimensions between Qatar and Canada have implications on the feedback process in experiential training which may be addressed through simple measures to accommodate communication preferences.


canadian; culture; feedback; health professional; international medical education; qatar; training

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