Two Cardiff University physiotherapy lecturers have been tasked with ensuring that 40 credits each year – equivalent to 400 hours of learning time – are available to students in Welsh.
Gwyneth Richards and Natalie John at meeting of the CSP’s Welsh Board in Cardiff
In addition to teaching, Gwyneth Richards and Natalie John are developing the delivery and evaluation of physiotherapy modules and programmes through the medium of Welsh.
The lecturers are part of a wider community of academic staff throughout Wales who are working towards the Welsh government’s Mwy na Geiriau strategy for Welsh language services to be available in health, social services and social care.
They agreed that the main point of promoting Welsh among the physiotherapists of the future is to benefit patients.
Ms Richards said: ‘This is about our communication with patients and giving them a choice. There is also the element of employability for Welsh-speaking physiotherapists.
‘It’s about raising the profile of the Welsh language in healthcare generally. And it’s about people feeling empowered and that there is an added value to some of the cultural and educational benefits of the Welsh language.’
The pair are working to identify Welsh speaking clinical educators or physiotherapists to undergo clinical educator training to provide Welsh or bilingual placements.
Increasing the number of students who want to use Welsh in their studies could be a challenge, however. Of the 2017 intake of approximately 150 physiotherapy students, only five have opted to do this. A contributory factor is that many of the students are from outside Wales.
Ms John said: ‘This is a long-term programme, mainly because the number of Welsh speaking children and Welsh language school places is going up so that in the future there will be more of a demand for services in Welsh.’
She added: ‘Now that we have a list of who has applied to the course for the coming year with the ability to speak first language Welsh, it will be interesting to see how year on year, hopefully, that grows.’
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