Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Clinical activity profile of preregistration physiotherapy students during clinical placements

Susan Stoikov A B E , Kassie Shardlow C , Mark Gooding D and Suzanne Kuys B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Physiotherapy Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, 199 Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba, Qld 4102, Australia.

B School of Physiotherapy, Australian Catholic University, 1100 Nudgee Road, Banyo, Qld 4014, Australia. Email: suzanne.kuys@acu.edu.au

C Metro South Hospital and Health Service, C/- Logan Hospital Physiotherapy Department, PO Box 6031, Yatala, Qld 4207, Australia. Email: Kassie.Shardlow@health.qld.gov.au

D Physiotherapy Department, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, IMB 1, Post Box 670, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia. Email: Mark.Gooding@health.qld.gov.au

E Corresponding author. Email: susan.stoikov@health.qld.gov.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16181
Submitted: 25 August 2016  Accepted: 3 May 2017   Published online: 22 June 2017

Abstract

Objective The aim of the present study was to determine the clinical activity profile of preregistration physiotherapy students during clinical placements and their clinical activity contribution to health service delivery.

Methods Clinical activity data for 2014 were obtained from five Queensland public sector hospitals providing preregistration physiotherapy students clinical education in three key clinical areas (cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological) over four 5-week placement blocks. Data regarding the number of student occasions of service (OOS) and the length of the OOS (LOOS) were collected to determine the average OOS and LOOS per student in each clinical area.

Results Twenty weeks of student data were collected from each hospital in each clinical area, representing 29.1% of cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurorehabilitation student placements. Students completed 19 051 OOS. The average OOS per student per block for cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurorehabilitation placements was 98.3, 74.0 and 72.4 respectively. Two-way ANOVA revealed a main effect of weeks (F = 402.1, P < 0.001) and clinical area (F =1331.5, P < 0.001) for LOOS.In addition, an interaction was found between clinical placement week and clinical area for LOOS (F = 8.4, P < 0.001).

Conclusions Student clinical activity data are useful for understanding the student contribution to health services. Student contribution appears to increase throughout the clinical placement and consideration should be given to the clinical educator : student ratio to enhance overall student contribution.

What is known about the topic? Quantitative data describing physiotherapy student clinical care activity during placements are limited.

What does this paper add? This paper profiles physiotherapy student clinical care activity and the changes occurring over 5-week placements.

What are the implications for practitioners? Physiotherapy students provide clinical activity for health services that changes over their 5-week placement. Student clinical activity should be considered when responding to placement demand and planning service delivery.


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