Psycho-Social and Academic Readiness for Health and Human Service Education

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Criss, Daniel
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This qualitative study investigated the educational experiences of first year human service diploma students at the Truro campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. The focus group inquiry provided a research approach whereby students, faculty and the center for student success personnel and academic chairs could engage the moderator and each other in making meaning of students' motives, expectations and readiness for pursuing human service education. The study examined the psychosocial and academic readiness of first year students to engage immediately is critical discourse regarding human needs, society and self. This inquiry also explored whether a parallel existed between psychosocial identity status and lived experiences of students. Multiple factors of readiness were considered in order to assess the extent to which these psychosocial factors impact the quality of learning, levels of success and goal attainment of individual learners. Disclosures, shared experiences and perspective taking of focus group participants generated similar and distinct themes revealing the complexity of psychosocial readiness unique to each student. Identified themes included motivations for enrolling in the program, learning demands of the first year, student perceptions, expectations and success among others. A second layer of analysis revealed examples of Marcia's identity statuses from the student focus group data (Marcia, 1991). The results will serve to educate the public about the academic, psychosocial challenges and demands of the Health and Human Services program. The results also affirmed the need for the community college to consider non-cognitive factors of success in accommodating students and knowing where they actually are psychosocially. These insights hopefully will further participatory research with students and faculty to enhance program development, quality of education and student self realization.
Academic achievement , Human services , Community college students , Paramedical education