Valuing our educator workforce

As educators in the physio workforce face more demands, CSP professional advisers Rachael Wadlow and Jen Straker discuss the varied educator roles in physiotherapy practice and the need to recognise their value

Valuing our educator workforce

The physiotherapy educator workforce plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of healthcare. They inspire, motivate, foster innovation and most importantly enhance patient care. 

Despite this, their value is often not recognised, limited to pre-registration education, or not supported by adequate resources. 

Physiotherapy education takes many forms; from supervising pre-reg students, mentoring preceptees, supporting people returning to work, delivering in-service training and upskilling support workers.

But does the responsibility for educating others fall on the heads of a select few or does everyone within the team support with this valuable role? Everyone has a role in education, and we need to find ways of valuing a whole team approach. 

Developing skills

Well skilled educators can improve staff performance, help with retention, and encourage recruitment of students, support workers and registered staff. 

The Allied Health Professional Education Workforce Capability and Career framework is a tool to help individuals, teams and organisations achieve excellence in educator practice.

The framework highlights the responsibilities and expectations of educators at all career levels whilst raising the profile of our educators. It includes suggestions for educator training and emphasises the importance of everyone, including students and support workers, being involved.

Keele University embraces this and demonstrate the benefits of the educator role starting at the pre-registration level. Fran Quinn-Thomas, a physio lecturer and the director of AHP placements at the university, says: ‘It provides an excellent opportunity for the fourth-year student to apply their leadership and educational theory, and helps provide evidence for many of the CPAF level six domains such as “working with others”.’  

This framework was developed by the Council of Deans for use across the UK. 

Mutual benefit 

The benefits of being an educator are two-way. The CSP promotes practising across different pillars of physiotherapy practice. Becoming an educator, in whatever guise, is the ideal way to contribute to the development of the profession and broaden your practice across pillars.  

Creating pathways for individuals to grow as educators and advance within the capability framework is a critical aspect of valuing their role and opens doors to potential leadership opportunities. 

So, let’s frame the educator role differently. Let’s commit to valuing the knowledge imparted at all levels, in all contexts and start the conversation about how we can contribute as one. 

Professional advice team

The CSP’s Professional Advice Service gives advice and support to members on complex and specialist enquiries about physiotherapy practice, including professional practice issues, standards, values and behaviours, international working, service design and commissioning, and policy in practice.

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