Research

Physiotherapy clinical education at a South African university

V Chetty, S Maddocks, S Cobbing, N Pefile, T Govender, S Shah, H Kaja, R Chetty, M Naidoo, S Mabika, N Mnguni, T Ngubane, F Mthethwa

Abstract


Background. Clinical education for physiotherapists forms a vital part of undergraduate programmes and equips students with competencies to practise autonomously as qualified health practitioners. However, disparities are evident in approaches to clinical education.

Objective. To explore the perceptions of physiotherapy students, community-service physiotherapists and physiotherapy clinical supervisors regarding the clinical education framework at a tertiary institution in South Africa in order to understand preparedness of students for practice.

Methods. A case study approach with two focus group discussions with students and interviews with community physiotherapists and clinical supervisors was employed. Data were analysed and categorised into key themes and sub-themes.

Results. Five themes emerged from triangulation of data from the three groups: preparedness for professional practice, institutional barriers, curriculum disputes, personal factors and recommendations for physiotherapy clinical education. Students felt inadequately prepared owing to a perceived lack of exposure to certain aspects of physiotherapy, while community therapists believed that reflection on the undergraduate programme after qualifying contributed to their adequate preparation. Clinical supervisors supposed that students would benefit from actively engaging with teaching and learning opportunities, and clinical personnel collaboration was seen as key to facilitate a continuum in clinical education from classroom to healthcare setting.

Conclusion. Participants reported that the existing curriculum structure may need to be revisited to address various issues, while holistic collaboration between students, supervisors and clinical personnel is imperative to create a cohesive learning environment.


Authors' affiliations

V Chetty, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Maddocks, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Cobbing, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

N Pefile, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

T Govender, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Shah, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

H Kaja, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

R Chetty, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

M Naidoo, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Mabika, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

N Mnguni, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

T Ngubane, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

F Mthethwa, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Keywords

Clinical education; Physiotherapy; Curriculum; South Africa

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2018;10(1):13-18. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2018.v10i1.987

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-04-09
Date published: 2018-04-09

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