The changing landscape of physiotherapy student clinical placements: An exploration of geographical distribution and student performance across settings

Catherine Johnston, Clint Newstead, Michael Sanderson, Luke Wakely, Peter Osmotherly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To describe the geographical distribution of physiotherapy clinical placements and investigate the relationship between geographical setting and clinical placement marks in physiotherapy students.

Design: A retrospective cohort design was used for this study.

Setting: The University of Newcastle, New South Wales.

Participants: Data from entry-level Bachelor of Physiotherapy student clinical placements.
Main outcome measure(s): Data from all clinical placements in the Physiotherapy program between 2003 and 2014 were included. For all clinical placements, student assessment mark, year of study, type of placement and placement location were collected. Placement location was then classified using the Modified Monash Model (MMM) categories: one (most metropolitan) to seven (most remote).

Results: Over the 12 year period of the study 3964 placements were completed. Between 2003 and 2005 the average proportion of clinical placements occurring in metropolitan areas (MMM1) was 78% and in rural areas (MMM categories 3–6) was 22%. In 2014 these proportions had changed to 59% (MMM1) and 40% (MMM3-6). There were significant differences in clinical placement grades between MMM1 and all other categories except MMM2, with lower assessment marks in MMM1 than other categories.

Conclusions: The changing distribution of physiotherapy clinical placements may be reflective of increasing student numbers and greater efforts to support students completing rural and remote placements. This change may lead to a positive effect on the rural and remote physiotherapy workforce. Further research is required to determine the specific training and support needs of students and clinical educators in rural and remote settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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