University of Tasmania
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Paving the practical pathway : the place of gifted education pedagogy in undergraduate clinical skills education in Australia

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posted on 2023-05-27, 11:56 authored by Amanda HarperAmanda Harper
This thesis aims to explore factors which enhance clinical skills acquisition in undergraduate healthcare education in the disciplines of Medicine, Paramedicine and Pharmacy at the University of Tasmania, Australia. This is achieved through an exploration of relevant gifted education pedagogy. The local and national healthcare context provides the platform for tertiary education across these disciplines. Within this, students from the University of Tasmania develop clinical skills which align theoretical, biologically-based knowledge and diagnostic skills with communication and interpersonal skills. This thesis presents a rationale for identifying such students as academically gifted learners, which intrinsically ties gifted education pedagogy to undergraduate healthcare study. Through a phenomenological, mixed-methods approach this thesis investigates empathic responding, academic self-concept, and the Big Fish Little Pond Effect in the target cohort. Results of the study suggest that: demographic characteristics may predict levels of empathic responding; there are no clear links between academic self-concept and levels of empathic responding to well-developed clinical skills; and, demographic characteristics may also predict levels of clinical skills. There is evidence of the Big Fish Little Pond Effect amongst participants, particularly those studying Medicine. Further examination of the results through the lens of Kazimierz D¿ívñbrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration suggests that an understanding of the levels of development, particularly with reference to the Syntonic Continuum, may inform the design of appropriate pedagogical strategies to support empathic development in students and assist in mitigating against empathic decline or compassion fatigue. These results suggest that gifted education pedagogy has a vital place within the learning and teaching of undergraduate healthcare education.


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Copyright 2017 the author A portion of chapter 2 appears to be the equivalent of an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in roeper review on 11 October 2017, available online:

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