USING STRUCTURED GROUP FEEDBACK SESSIONS (SGFS), TO EVALUATE ENTRY-LEVEL PHYSIOTHERAPY EDUCATION IN TERMS OF NEWLY QUALIFIED PHYSIOTHERAPISTS’ READINESS FOR EMPLOYMENT IN PRIMARY CARE
1 University College Dublin (IRELAND)
2 Dublin City University (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
With the worldwide shift in healthcare delivery from secondary to primary care, employment opportunities for newly qualified physiotherapy students will most likely be in the primary care setting. Primary Care recognises the individual holistically, with particular emphasis on wellness, prevention, social needs and community involvement. Implementation of professional entry-level curricula that optimally prepares physiotherapy graduates for employment in primary care settings is essential.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate final year physiotherapy students’ perceptions of current physiotherapy education in terms of how well it prepares them for future employment in primary care settings and to establish the effectiveness of structured group feedback sessions (SGFS) as a method of involving these key stakeholders in curriculum evaluation.
Sixty eight final year physiotherapy students from the four Irish universities participated. Four SGFS consisting of three stages were conducted using open ended questions, relating to students’ perceptions of preparedness for employment in Primary Care. Stage one allowed students to reflect individually on their perspectives, stage two, they worked in small groups, where opinions were discussed and majority agreement recorded and finally, stage three, overall consensus was obtained. Data was analysed using ‘Framework Analysis’ methodology.
Six themes were identified:
(i) clinical education, in relation to both content and context with findings indicating that primary care placements be mandatory from a clinical education perspective
(ii) academic course content, whereby students identified a deficit relating to primary care structure and services
(iii) methods of teaching and learning, specifically student centred, active participation pedagogies
(iv) curriculum design where a spiral design was favoured
(v) information literacy where evidence based practice was viewed as essential and well covered throughout the four years
(vi) professionalism, where collaborative multidisciplinary approach was deemed most advantageous.
One of the greatest challenges facing health professional educators is to ensure contemporary curricula reflect the constant evolution and expansion if healthcare service delivery, particularly the current shift towards primary care. Of the key stakeholders involved in curriculum evaluation, none are better informed in terms of the curriculum in its entirety than the students. SGFS provided an alternative but effective means of gathering this information. It is a process that could be employed across numerous disciplines to gather students perspectives and opinions.
Keywords: Physiotherapy, Curriculum, Feedback, Primary Care.