Who is a practice educator?
- A practice educator facilitates, supports and assesses physiotherapy student learning on practice placements. However, practice educators also support the work-based learning of peers, other professionals and work colleagues, support workers as well as patients and their families. Education is a core physiotherapy skill and all physiotherapists are expected to support others to learn - see more on this in the CSP Physiotherapy Framework.
Supporting students on placement
All physiotherapists should have a role in supporting students on placement. Students require 1,000 hours of practice placements in a wide range of settings and contexts and need to work with and learn from staff at all levels. Anywhere a physiotherapist works is potentially suitable for a student practice placement as a means of gaining a broad range of skills.
However, a student requires a named practice educator (a registered health professional) at every placement who will guide and support their learning, facilitate learning opportunities, coordinate periods of supervision with other team members, provide constructive feedback and assess the student.
The practice educator role does not only benefit students: find out more
Interested in supporting students on placement?
If you are not currently a practice educator for physiotherapy students and would like to take this role on, have a preliminary discussion about possible options with your line manager and the link tutor of the higher education institution (HEI) that has placements in your service. Don’t be put off if you work part-time or work non-traditional hours as placements may be offered jointly with other practice educators either within the same sector or perhaps across sectors. A student can benefit greatly from a well-coordinated placement with more than one practice educator.
The HEI(s) you link with will provide you with information on the range of on-going activities and training they offer to prepare, support and update practice educators. As well as enhance the quality of student practice education, learning activities for practice educators will have wider benefits for individual practitioners' professional development and will contribute to service delivery.
CSP resources to support practice education
A substantive resource for practice educators within the CSP e-portfolio is 'Practice Education Information, Support and Guidance'. This resource has specific sections for practice educators, managers/clinicians, HEIs, students and support workers as well as more generic sections; for example where members can add (and find) examples of successful, contemporary physiotherapy practice education. This resource is intended to be fluid and ideas and contributions for content and feedback are always welcome: please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions.
The CSP provides professional networking opportunities to practice educators. Channels through which these opportunities are offered include the following:
- face-to-face/ on-line national network meetings; including learning and development network meetings (face-to-face or virtual), learning and development sessions at Physiotherapy UK and education-relevant webinars.
- opportunities for electronic networking through interactive CSP (iCSP); this includes the 'Practice Educator' and 'Learning & Development' networks.
Find out more about these opportunities by sending an email to: email@example.com.
Links to other information/resources
- Department of Health (2013): Introduction of Tariffs for Education and Training.
- Guidance for CSP members on professional and public liability insurance and related issues
- NHS Education for Scotland : AHP Practice Education: Supporting education in the workplace
- ‘Practice makes perfect: Learning from student practice education, Frontline, 19 February 2014
- CPD and student practice education, Frontline, 5 March 2014
- Advice Line: Lessons from Practice, Frontline, 1 October 2014