Betwixt and Between: A Pilot Study Exploring the Experiences of Clinical Educators Teaching in a Dispersed Model of Entry-Level Physiotherapy Curriculum


  • Sarah Barradell
  • Felicity Blackstock
  • Sally Mastwyk
  • Clarice Tang
  • Joan Leo
  • Janet McConville



clinical educator, health sciences, phenomenology, physiotherapy, pracacademic, practice-based education


Education of the future healthcare workforce has long been a partnership between university and healthcare sectors, with students learning under the shared guidance of academics and clinicians. Traditionally, academics have taught in the classroom and clinicians have engaged students at the patient bedside. Using a phenomenologically-oriented approach, this pilot project explored the experiences of clinicians who team-taught a theoretical subject in a classroom environment. Purposeful sampling of physiotherapy staff within a metropolitan healthcare organisation was used. Six clinicians were recruited and, prior to teaching, completed a blended educational program about higher education teaching and learning. The clinicians taught classes of twenty students within new classroom spaces co-located at the healthcare organisation, with curricula provided by the university. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each clinician at the beginning and end of the allocated teaching period. Transcripts from the semi-structured interviews were analysed and four themes emerged. First, physiotherapists initially identified as clinicians not teachers, but their perceptions later broadened. Second, the intention of teaching was patient-focused. Third, the balancing of multiple roles resulted in challenges for the clinicians; and fourth, the experience involved new immersion in digital media. This work explores a different form of educator role – likened to a pracademic – and supports the need for considered approaches to teaching and links between theory/education and practice to meet the demands of modern healthcare and university learning.


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How to Cite

Barradell, S., Blackstock, F., Mastwyk, S., Tang, C., Leo, J., & McConville, J. (2018). Betwixt and Between: A Pilot Study Exploring the Experiences of Clinical Educators Teaching in a Dispersed Model of Entry-Level Physiotherapy Curriculum. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 6(2), 80–94.