The changing landscape of practice education in physiotherapy: an investigation into the educator and student experience of a rotational placement pilot

Smith, Sarah, Miller, Paul K. ORCID logo ORCID: , Law, Elizabeth and Mills, Steve (2022) The changing landscape of practice education in physiotherapy: an investigation into the educator and student experience of a rotational placement pilot. In: Enabling Effective Learning Environments NENC Conference, 19 October 2022, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. (Unpublished)

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Background: As the number of physiotherapy programs has increased over recent years, there is a corollary need to explore all means of ensuring there are sufficient clinical placement opportunities. As well as meeting capacity requirements, it is vital that the quality of clinical education remains high. One area of clinical placement provision not widely used in physiotherapy is ‘placement rotation’, whereby students complete several placements in different clinical areas within one trust. This concept is well established throughout nursing programmes. As an adjunct to a pilot model of rotational placements for physiotherapy students, of which the first author’s institution was the lead partner alongside a single NHS Foundation Trust in the north west of England, this study qualitatively explores the student and Clinical Educator (henceforth CE) experiences thereof.

Method: With full institutional ethical approval, and using purposive sampling, a total of N=12 participants were recruited. Of these, N=6 were (a) second-year postgraduate (MSc) physiotherapy students who had (b) completed a full rotation, and N=6 were CEs (a) working within the participating NHS Trust and (b) directly involved in physiotherapy placement supervision. All participants sat for a single semi-structured online interview using Microsoft Teams, which was transcribed verbatim (with redactions made for identity protection), and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Findings: Analysis of the student interviews yielded four main themes: 1. Constructive induction, 2. Inclusion within the professional team, 3. Strong peer support, 4. Guaranteed breadth of clinical experience. Analysis of CE interviews also yielded four main themes: 1. Induction and infrastructure, 2. Time efficiency, 3. Rapid patient contact, 4. Rapid team integration.

Conclusions: Although they were not without some problems, experiences of the physiotherapy rotational placement pilot among both groups were overwhelmingly positive. Moreover, the study revealed a number of prospectively unexpected and novel ways in which both students and CEs felt benefits from the rotational model, not least around the technical and personal value of a single umbrella-type induction, and rapid social and professional integration of teams. It is hoped that the findings described will both promote and inform future interventions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Departments: Institute of Health > Rehabilitation and Sport Science
Additional Information: Sarah Smith, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Practice Education Lead, University of Cumbria, UK. Paul K. Miller, Associate Professor in Social Psychology, University of Cumbria, UK. Elizabeth Law, Physiotherapy Clinical Lead, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, UK. Steve Mills, Lecturer in Physiotherapy, University of Cumbria, UK.
Depositing User: Paul Miller
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2022 14:16
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 14:02


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