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01-12-2021 | Research | Uitgave 1/2021 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2021

Effect of a culturally safe student placement on students’ understanding of, and confidence with, providing culturally safe podiatry care

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2021
Matthew West, Sean Sadler, Fiona Hawke, Shannon E. Munteanu, Vivienne Chuter
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-021-00450-2.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



For university-based podiatry education there are little data available documenting the delivery method and impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curricula or the use of, and outcomes from, immersive clinical placements generally or specific to podiatry practice. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of undertaking clinical placement in a culturally safe podiatry service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on podiatry students’ understanding of, and confidence with, providing culturally safe podiatry care.


Final year University of Newcastle undergraduate podiatry students attending a culturally safe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student clinic at a local hospital were purposively recruited to participate. Students completed a custom-made and pilot-tested cultural awareness and capability survey before and after placement. Survey domains were determined from a principle component analysis. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was used to compare pre-placement scores on each domain of the survey to the post-placements scores. Effect sizes were calculated and interpreted as small (0.1–0.29), medium (0.3–0.49), and large (≥0.5).


This study recruited 58 final year University of Newcastle podiatry students to complete baseline and follow-up surveys. For survey domain 1 (level of understanding of power relationships), domain 2 (level of understanding of the interrelationship between culture and self-perceived health), domain 3 (level of understanding of the importance of culture in clinical practice and access to health care), and domain 4 (level of confidence with providing culturally safe care) a statistically significant (p < 0.05) increase in scores was recorded post-placement. The effect sizes were medium to large.


This study demonstrated that an immersive student placement at a culturally safe podiatry clinic significantly improved students’ understanding of, and confidence with, providing culturally appropriate care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This study provides foundation evidence of the role that such placements have on developing students’ cultural capability in a tertiary health care setting, and will help inform future curricula development at both educational institutions and health services, as well as form the basis for ongoing research.

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