Replacing Physiotherapy Student Clinical Education Time with Simulation - The Clinical Educators’ Experience
Simulation is being increasingly utilised as replacement for part of the clinical education of physiotherapy students. There are several studies investigating the experience and outcomes for physiotherapy students when using simulation to replace clinical placement time. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate clinical educators’ opinions of the preparedness for clinical placement of physiotherapy students whose first week of a 5 week clinical placement was replaced by a simulation experience, compared to those who completed the full placement in the clinical setting. A mixed methods pilot study was undertaken. Questionnaires were completed by clinical educators who supervised students for 4 weeks after the students had one week of simulation (1+4 week model) or supervised students who had not had simulation and completed a full 5 week placement in the clinical setting (5-week model). Both groups were asked to rate how prepared they perceived the students to be to commence placement. Clinical educators in the 1+4 week model group were interviewed after the placement. The clinical educators reported students were better prepared to commence placement in some areas of practice if they had undertaken a week of simulation compared to the students they had previously supervised who had not had a simulation week. However, these clinical educators reported that students in the 1+4-week model did not reach the expected level of students in the 5-week model when compared after one week on clinical placement.
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