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Getting fit for practice: An innovative paediatric clinical placement provided physiotherapy students opportunities for skill development

Abstract

Objectives

Negative attitudes to disability among physiotherapy students in paediatric placements might be addressed by providing clinical placement opportunities for students early in their course. The aim of this qualitative research study was to explore what physiotherapy students reported learning from an innovative paediatric placement option.

Design

Qualitative research with in-depth interviews.

Participants

Seventeen first and second year physiotherapy students (15 women, 2 men; mean age 19.9 (SD 1.4) years) who took part in the clinical education experience.

Interventions

The experience comprised a student-led progressive resistance training programme performed twice a week for 10 weeks at a community gymnasium with an adolescent with Down syndrome.

Methods

In-depth interviews were completed after the 10-week programme and were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and independently coded by two researchers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results

Two themes emerged from the data, one about being a student mentor and the second about skill development and application. The physiotherapy students indicated the programme was a challenging yet rewarding experience, and that they gained an increased appreciation of disability. They reported developing and applying a range of communication, professional and physiotherapy specific skills.

Conclusions

The results suggest that the clinical experience provided physiotherapy students with opportunities to learn clinical skills, generic professional skills, and better understand disability in young people. Many of the learning outcomes identified by the participating students align with desired graduate capabilities and required professional competencies.

Cite this article

Getting fit for practice: An innovative paediatric clinical placement provided physiotherapy students opportunities for skill development.Physiotherapy - June 2013 (Vol. 99, Issue 2, Pages 159-164, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2012.02.001)Nora Shields, Andrea Bruder, Nicholas F. Taylor, Tom Angelo

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