Rethinking Screen Time during COVID-19: Impact on Sleep and Academic Performance in Physiotherapy students

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Introduction  The 21st century has been called the era of science and technology (and now data), especially with the new technology developments and advancements over the last few decades. In the world today, people cannot live without technologies such as televisions, mobile phones, computers and others. The internet has proved to be a boon in […]

Responding to COVID-19: LUNEX University’s decisions and actions to continue physiotherapy education

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In this report we reflect on the decision-making process and actions taken by a young higher education institution to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy degree programs. LUNEX University is unique in that it is the only higher education institute in Luxembourg to provide education in physiotherapy. The response to the global pandemic is further complicated as the majority of students commute across international borders to attend campus. Here we focus on three distinct challenges LUNEX staff faced to ensure continued and quality teaching was provided: 1) Response to country-wide and global shutdown; 2) Return to campus; and 3) Provision of Clinical Placements. We describe the decisions and actions to rapidly move to a blended learning format, and the strategic approach to incorporating simulated practice after restrictions were eased and a return to campus was possible. Initial observation suggests improvement in student competency in practical skills as a result of the blended learning approach. Recommendations are provided to encourage the integration of blended learning for practical/clinical degree programs, like physiotherapy, where an emphasis is placed on simulated practice in classroom settings, underpinned by prior theoretical knowledge delivered online.

QuaranTrain: An international community of practice for learning

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The recent Covid19 pandemic has presented opportunities for learners and teachers to engage with each other, and the people they serve, in unique and creative ways. Historically, communities of practices have developed to help solve complex, uncertain, and dynamic challenges. Reactive, yet forward-looking, pedagogies can be thought of as communities of practice and therefore be modelled and developed for wide and future use. Here we aim to present a covid19 health resource (QuaranTrain) as a pedagogical community of practice in which shared and co-created knowledge emerges and traditional pedagogical constructs are dissolved. This is a student-led, self-organised learning framework which transcends and dissolves traditional health education pedagogy. We conclude that out of a crisis, new and creative ways of learning can emerge. A post-Covid era should embrace these phenomena.

Digital confidence, experience and motivation in physiotherapists: A UK-wide survey

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Background: Healthcare digital transformation should focus on the use of innovative technologies to enhance quality, safety, efficiency of care services; and patient experience. Subsequently, the roles and skills of healthcare staff will change, requiring evaluation and elevation of digital literacy across the physiotherapy profession.
Aim: To evaluate the confidence, motivation and competence of digital technologies in a cohort of UK physiotherapists (compared to a wider group of allied health professionals).
Methods: On-line questionnaire of physiotherapists and other allied health professionals (AHPs) in the UK.
Results: 282 responses from AHPs were received, with 279 complete responses for further analysis (including 126 physiotherapists). Physiotherapists report moderate-high levels of confidence in the use of digital devices (7.6 ±1.77); and high levels of motivation in learning about digital technology (8.7 ±1.6). Physiotherapists self-rate their knowledge regarding the benefits of digital transformation as high (72%). Physiotherapists show a strong preference for daily communication via telephone (82%) and email (97%).
Conclusion: Confidence and motivation in digital technology does not fully transfer into high self-rating of competence in many areas of digital application. Educational development should be directed towards cultivating general knowledge and practical skills into more specialist areas.

Contagious expectations: a collective account of early-career physiotherapist academics’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Background: The COVID-19 global pandemic, and the policies created to respond to it, has had profound and widespread impacts. We – three early career physiotherapist academics aspiring to emancipatory physiotherapy practice – noticed both common and divergent experiences amid the impacts of the initial pandemic response.
Aim: To explore the professional contexts in which we operate as physiotherapist academics through an analysis of our COVID-19 pandemic-related experiences.
Methods: We used a professional practice analytic framework to systematically explore our individual and collective experiences. The analytic framework consists of three lenses (accountability, ethics, and professional-as-worker), each of which is considered through three questions.
Results: The analysis revealed the instability of our working conditions. Among us, there were experiences of the pandemic inducing unmanageable workloads and also experiences of the pandemic providing reprieve. We found that our accountability to departments and funders competed for our professional resources with our ethics of providing quality services. The combination of accountability obligations and ethics commitments often overwhelmed our capacities to sustainably maintain well-being. Caregiver status was an important characteristic determining whether the professional context improved or a deteriorated in the early pandemic phase.
Conclusion: This analysis can help inform essential changes to professional and academic institutions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.