Exploring how changes to education during the covid-19 pandemic affected newly qualified physiotherapists in preparation and work as a Band 5 physiotherapist (Quantitative Phase)
Mixed Methods Research Part 2: (Survey and Integration)
Keywords:Physiotherapy, students , education, survey mixed methods
Traditionally, the UK physiotherapy curriculum is delivered by campus learning model and clinical placements (Chesterton et al, 2022). By March 2020, the covid-19 pandemic was declared a World Pandemic (Ayenigbara et al, 2020) forcing a rapid shift to full time online learning (Papapanou et al, 2021). Skamagki et al (2022) have highlighted the importance of incorporating quantitative and qualitative data within physiotherapy research, which is why a concurrent mixed methods design was selected. The pragmatic reasoning being qualitative and quantitative data can be collected at the same time, due to time constraints by the researchers this method was the most suitable for the study. A mixed method study allows the integration of both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis for one single study (Creswell, 1999). The aim of the study was to investigate how the changes in education due to the covid-19 pandemic affect the preparedness of physiotherapy students becoming Band 5 physiotherapists. The inclusion criteria included BSc students who commenced training in 2019 and MSc students commencing training in 2020. The questionnaire intended to investigate the preparedness of physiotherapy students who had undergone educational changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study included five key areas of investigation: Clinical Practice Skills, Communication, Teaching and Learning, Understanding the Work Environment and Team Working. A Chi-square goodness of fit test was selected to carry out statistical analysis in SPSS. 60% of physiotherapy students agreed to be prepared for making clinical decisions based on evidence gathered after receiving online learning, with a p-value of 0.01 providing a significant result. The results from the five categories found that physiotherapy students were prepared for their role as Band 5 physiotherapists. Integration of the quantitative and qualitative data found strong associations between the questionnaire and the focus group. Online learning was an effective method in preparing physiotherapy students for becoming Band 5 physiotherapists and would be beneficial to be used within physiotherapy education in a hybrid format.
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