Physiotherapy Students’ Experiences of Role-Emerging Placements: A Qualitative Study
Keywords:clinical placements, contemporary placement, physiotherapy, role-emerging, student placementsrapy, student placements
Role-emerging placements (REPs) have been firmly embedded in undergraduate occupational therapy curricula for a number of years. REPs aim to facilitate the development of essential professional skills to prepare students for an increasingly diverse and evolving workplace. In the United Kingdom, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has also emphasized the importance of adequately preparing graduates for new and emerging areas of practice. To date, however, there has been no published research exploring the use of REPs in physiotherapy. This study aimed to explore the experiences of undergraduate physiotherapy students who had each undertaken a REP. Six participants volunteered to take part in a focus group which used a research informed semi-structured topic guide. Group discussions were digitally recorded and professionally transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis of the data revealed five main themes: (1) Establishing a Physiotherapy Role Independently; (2) Finding a Voice and Influencing Change; (3) Developing Professional Identity; (4) Professional Development and (5) Support. The findings highlighted the variability of student experiences in REP settings, both positive and negative. However, all appeared to result in professional and personal benefits for the students, through promoting graduate attributes and skills that may be attractive to employers.
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