Evaluation of the Early Impact of COVID-19 on Physiotherapy Clinical Placement Learning Models and Client Case-Mix
International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care
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
... s. 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.