Social support is vital in promoting the health, well-being, and performance of students and clinicians in health professions. Health settings' demanding and competitive nature imposes unique challenges on students and clinicians with disabilities. This paper aims to explore the trajectories and experiences of social support interactions amongst students and clinicians with disabilities in health professions. In a qualitative longitudinal study, 124 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 health students and 29 health clinicians with disabilities. Data analysis was informed by grounded theory as an adapted analytic approach involving constant comparisons. A few main characteristics of social support and trajectories in which social support is negotiated emerged from the data: (1) The need to be accepted and not questioned when asking for support, (2) Support interactions that do not heighten otherness, (3) Failure to acknowledge the challenges, (4) Interactions that support the process of disclosure (5) Interactions that allow mobilization of social support without strain or an extra effort. These findings have important implications for designing more supportive health professions, educational programs, and workplaces for people living with disabilities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research: This study was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), application Number 312411.
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
- Health professions educational programs
- Social Support
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