Different people, different views, different ideas: do widening participation definitions influence the impact and practice of widening access in healthcare?

Bateson, John, Somerville, Mary, Griffin, Richard and Hancock, David (2018) Different people, different views, different ideas: do widening participation definitions influence the impact and practice of widening access in healthcare? Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 20 (1). pp. 102-122. ISSN 1466-6529

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Abstract

There is no consensus about the meaning of the phrase ‘widening participation’. A clearly understood and resonant definition of widening participation, commonly held by work-based and academic practitioners, may be fundamental to coherent and impactful access initiatives across sectors. Focusing on the healthcare sector, using qualitative interview data gathered from those involved with widening participation initiatives in education and in the healthcare workplace, and focus groups with current and prospective students, this research explores understanding in practice and resulting actions. Findings strongly suggest that aspirants to higher education (including healthcare workers) do not recognise ‘widening participation’ as a phrase, potentially limiting the impact of interventions as the target groups may assume it does not apply to them. Conversely, advocates for this group (practitioners in both higher education and healthcare) offer a range of definitions, however the breadth of definitions allows for different priorities. There is some evidence that this results in higher education and healthcare employers targeting different groups, with universities looking to enrol students from non-traditional backgrounds but often with traditional qualifications, and employers wishing to concentrate most of their effort on supporting existing staff into higher education. In contrast to definitions in policy documents which focus on deficits, both advocates and aspirants spoke about the positive qualities brought by students typically targeted by widening participation initiatives. Along with discussing the lack of concept recognition in the workplace, this paper argues for the development and widespread adoption of a definition enshrining the creation of equal access as a positive step, rather than a deficit remediation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Widening Participation, Healthcare, Nursing, Deficit models, Asset models, Strength models
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2018 10:21
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 03:00
URI: http://bucks.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17366

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