The impact of user involvement in allied healthcare education is complicated by a lack of understanding of this concept both practically and ideologically. It is important to analyse whether service users perceive taking part as an ‘honour’ or as ‘agents of change’.
This study explored service users’ perspectives of their involvement in a UK college-based physiotherapy educational programme.
A Grounded Theory approach utilising semi-structured interviews was conducted with eight of the service users who took part in the physiotherapy programme. The analysis of the interviews was carried out according to a grounded theory framework.
All the service users wished to foster a sense of a partnership and communicate what it was like on the ‘other side’. Their personal agendas and possible motivation for taking part were to challenge the students assumptions regarding disability, to give something back for their healthcare and to communicate their dissatisfaction with present healthcare provision.
The participants felt that they could be instrumental in a process of change. One way to address this is to include this programme as an integral element of the current move towards life-long learning that supports their professional development in a range of authentic situations. Their reflexive dialogues with the service users can be documented as part of a reflexive portfolio with the service users as mentors.
Service users’ perceptions regarding their involvement in a physiotherapy educational programme in the UK: a qualitative study.Physiotherapy - June 2013 (Vol. 99, Issue 2, Pages 153-158, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2012.07.004)Di Thomson, Ros Hilton