Evaluation of the Early Impact of COVID-19 on Physiotherapy Clinical Placement Learning Models and Client Case-Mix
Clinical placements are fundamental to entry-level physiotherapy education and provide an opportunity for students to translate theory into practice within authentic clinical environments. Student success during clinical placement is a core requirement of physiotherapy programs and a critical component of the pathway to graduation, registration, and then employment. The registration of a physiotherapist confirms that as a student, they have met the profession’s rigorous accreditation requirements. COVID-19 has significantly disrupted physiotherapy clinical placements across Australia, with many placements postponed or cancelled in the early public health response. These placement disruptions may preclude students from demonstrating mandatory pre-registration accreditation requirements, ultimately reducing the number of eligible new-graduate physiotherapists. Creating sustainable clinical placements whilst upholding the professional standard of entry level graduates during the pandemic, calls for innovative solutions to monitor student placement experiences. A Clinical Portfolio was implemented to improve monitoring processes and enable dynamic responses to potentially altered student learning experiences as COVID-19 public health measures evolved. In doing so, the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on physiotherapy student placements between May and June 2020 through examining client case-mix, demographics and learning model documented in each student’s Clinical Portfolio. These data sets allowed for comparison of learning model and case-mix during the pandemic with previous literature monitoring typical physiotherapy clinical placement experience, and providing support for ensuring the registration of the cohort impacted.
Almeida, P., Bury, T., Xerri de Caro, J., Gasherebuka, J., Deutsch, J., Alvis Gomez, K., Jalovcic, D., Jeng, S-F., Lowe, R., Masnyk, K., Rydland Olsen, N., Sanders, B., & Stokes, E. (2020). World Physiotherapy response to COVID-19; Briefing paper 3. Retrieved from https://world.physio/covid-19-information-hub/covid-19-briefing-papers
Almeida, P., Bury, T., Gasherebuka, J., Deutsch, J., Alvis Gomez, K., Jalovcic, D., Jeng, S-F., Lowe, R., Masnyk, K., Rydland Olsen, N., Sanders, B., Stokes, E., & Xerri de Caro, J. (2020). World Physiotherapy response to COVID-19: Briefing paper 4. Retrieved from https://world.physio/covid-19-information-hub/covid-19-briefing-papers
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report. (2019). Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/burden-of-disease/overview
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report. (2020). Australia’s hospitals at a glance 2018-19. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/australias-hospitals-at-a-glance-2018-19/contents/summary
Australian Physiotherapy Council. (2017). Guidelines for Accreditation: Entry Level Physiotherapy Practitioner Programs of Study (V1.2 ed.). https://physiocouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/GUIDELINES-FOR-ACCREDITATION-V1.5-20072021.pdf
Coffey, A. (2005). The clinical learning portfolio: a practice development experience in gerontological nursing. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 14(s2), 75-83. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2005.01279.x
Constantinou, M., & Kuys, S. S. (2013). Physiotherapy students find guided journals useful to develop reflective thinking and practice during their first clinical placement: a qualitative study. Physiotherapy, 99(1), 49-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2011.12.002
Dalton, M., Davidson, M., & Keating, J. (2011). The assessment of physiotherapy practice (APP) is a valid measure of professional competence of physiotherapy students: a cross-sectional study with Rasch analysis. Journal of Physiotherapy, 57(4), 239-246. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1836-9553(11)70054-6
Dalton, M., Davidson, M., & Keating, J. L. (2012). The assessment of physiotherapy practice (APP) is a reliable measure of professional competence of physiotherapy students: a reliability study. Journal of Physiotherapy, 58(1), 49-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1836-9553(12)70072-3
Department of Health. (2020). National Principles: Clinical Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-principles-clinical-education-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
Haines, K. J., & Berney, S. (2020). Physiotherapists during COVID-19: usual business, in unusual times. Journal of Physiotherapy, 66(2), 67-69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphys.2020.03.012
Health Workforce Australia. (2011). National Clinical Supervision Support Framework. Retrieved from http://www.ntrtn.com.au/sites/default/files/hwa-national-clinical-supervision-support-framework-201110.pdf
Health Workforce Australia. (2014). Australia’s Health Workforce Series – Physiotherapists in Focus. Retrieved from https://myhealthcareer.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2014-Physiotherapists-in-Focus.pdf
MacDonald, C. W., Lonnemann, E., Petersen, S. M., Rivett, D. A., Osmotherly, P. G., & Brismee, J. M. (2020). COVID 19 and manual therapy: international lessons and perspectives on current and future clinical practice and education. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 28(3), 134-145. https://doi.org/10.1080%2F10669817.2020.1782059
Nguyen, L. H., Drew, D. A., Graham, M. S., Joshi, A. D., Guo, C-G., Ma, W., Mehta, R. S., Warner, E. T., Sikavi, D. R., Lo, C-H., Kwon, S., Song, M., Mucci, L. A., Stampfer, M. J., Willett, W. C., Eliassen, A. H., Hart, J. E., Chavarro, J. E., Rich-Edwards, J. W., … Chan, A. T. (2020). Risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers and the general community: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet Public Health, 5(9), e475-e483. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30164-X
Physiotherapy Board of Australia & Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand. (2015). Physiotherapy practice thresholds in Australia & Aotearoa New Zealand. https://www.physiotherapyboard.gov.au/documents/default.aspx?record=WD15%2F16750&dbid=AP&chksum=LWuk27uBUFj5MTUort6Qug%3D%3D
Pretorius, A., Karunaratne, N., & Fehring, S. (2016). Australian physiotherapy workforce at a glance: a narrative review. Australian Health Review, 40(4), 438-442. https://doi.org/10.1071/ah15114
Queensland Government. (2020). COVID-19 and clinical placements. Retrieved from https://www.health.qld.gov.au/employment/clinical-placement/covid-19-and-clinical-placements
Queensland Government. (2021). COVID-19 update. Retrieved from https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/urgent-covid-19-update
Queensland Physiotherapy Placement Collaborative. (2013). Queensland Physiotherapy Central Allocation Process. Q. P. P. Collaborative. https://www.clinedaus.org.au/files/resources/queensland_physiotherapy_central_allocation_process_v3.1_040913.pdf
Rawlins, F., Sumpter, C., Sutphin, D., & Garner, H. R. (2018). Quantifying medical student clinical experiences via an ICD Code Logging App. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 111, 51-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2017.12.017
Rodger, S., Stephens, E., Clark, M., Ash, S., & Graves, N. (2011). Occupational therapy students' contribution to occasions of service during practice placements in health settings. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(6), 412-418. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1630.2011.00971.x
Schofield, D. J., & Fletcher, S. L. (2007). The physiotherapy workforce is ageing, becoming more masculinised, and is working longer hours: a demographic study. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 53(2), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0004-9514(07)70045-4
Siggins Miller Consultants. (2012). Promoting Quality in Clinical Placements: Literature review and national stakeholder consultation. Retrieved from https://www.adea.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Promoting-quality-in-clinical-placements-report-20130408.pdf
Smith, L. S., & Branstetter, M. L. (2016). A Formative Program Evaluation of Electronic Clinical Tracking System Documentation to Meet National Core Competencies. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 34(9), 393-401. https://doi.org/10.1097/cin.0000000000000254
Stoikov, S., Shardlow, K., Gooding, M., & Kuys, S. (2018). Clinical activity profile of preregistration physiotherapy students during clinical placements. Australian Health Review, 42(6), 661-666. https://doi.org/10.1071/ah16181
Twogood, R., Hares, E., Wyatt, M., & Cuff, A. (2020). Rapid implementation and improvement of a virtual student placement model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Open Quality, 9(4). https://bmjopenquality.bmj.com/content/9/4/e001107
Yang, S., Kwak, S. G., Ko, E. J., & Chang, M. C. (2020). The Mental Health Burden of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical Therapists. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10), 3723. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103723
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Andrea Helen Hams, Taryn Lee Jones
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License "Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivs 4.0 International" (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) which permits others to use the publication as long as the authors are appropriately cited.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
- The Author grants to Coventry University an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive licence to publish this article in this journal in addition to the licence granted at paragraph 1 of this copyright notice.