Advice line: Lessons from practice

Ever wondered what physiotherapy qualifying programmes are like today? Jennifer Duthie discusses how you can play a part.

As health and social care services change, programme teams in higher education institutions (HEIs) adapt curricula to ensure that their graduates are best prepared for practice (visit Learning and Development here). 

It’s not always easy to anticipate and drive change in new directions and there are always dilemmas to be addressed about what can be taken out of time-limited programmes to make way for new content.

From participating in programme accreditation events across the UK, the CSP understands how hard HEI teams work to achieve a good balance of learning for their students. As part of this, they review how programmes can best respond to changing patient, service and practice needs.

More than ever, we need clinicians, service managers and HEIs to work collaboratively to make sure that physiotherapy education is cutting-edge, evidence-based and prepares graduates for work in dynamic environments and roles.

Questions about what physiotherapy students do and don’t do in their programmes are not uncommon across CSP network discussions. Many discussions are initiated by clinicians – the same group that delivers student practice education (which comprises a third of all pre-registration programmes).

Being or becoming a practice educator is one way of directly influencing physiotherapy education. We can see from Chris Martey’s article 'Student's view: Top 10 tips for practice placements' how students support one another to gain the most from practice placements; this is well documented in the literature.

However, we rely on experienced physios to help students to understand the broader dimensions of service provision and how population and patient needs can be met across increasingly diverse sectors, settings and delivery models.

This is in addition to helping to develop students’ professional knowledge, skills and behaviours (with a focus on person-centred professionalism now brought to the fore).

Happily, learning between practice educators and students can be two-way. Students may be able to share, and put to good use on placements, knowledge of health informatics, inter-professional education, human performance studies, and developments in the evidence base.

Physiotherapy education is everyone’s responsibility – let’s make sure that we all get involved and contribute to the profession’s development.

For more information, email:
Jennifer Duthie is an education adviser within the Learning and Development Team at the CSP

Jennifer Duthie

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