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.
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.
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.
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.
Physiotherapy in musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders requires skills in examination, clinical reasoning, pain management, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, and other physiotherapy modalities e.g. electrophysical therapies. Traditionally in physiotherapy education, these skills have been learned and practised in a classroom with the guidance of a physiotherapy teacher. In Finland, like all over the world, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everyday life very fast on March 15th 2020, when the government imposed special restrictions for the whole country and all aspects of life. Karelia UAS moved all activities into a remote mode and normally used teaching methods had to change quickly, also in the physiotherapy education.This article describes how the change from contact to remote teaching was implemented in courses of physiotherapy in musculoskeletal disorders in Karelia UAS. The article also highlights students’ experiences of remote teaching in these courses, collected from Karelia UAS course online feedback system.
Background: Increasing, supporting and sustaining the capacity for physiotherapy student placements is a priority for universities and the physiotherapy workforce. The interruption, and in some cases, cancellation of placements as a result of Covid-19 has provided an added impetus to consider the use of flexible and adaptive models to meet student learning needs and support new and existing placement host organisations. Project-based learning provides an opportunity to supplement clinical placements through student-led activities that are mutually beneficial for student learning and service delivery needs of the host organisation.
Aim: This paper outlines the pedagogical underpinnings of project-based learning and provides tangible examples of activities that have been adopted within physiotherapy host organisations to support clinical placement quality and capacity.
Discussion: Clinical placement host organisations require flexible, student-centred approaches to supporting clinical placement efforts during 2020 and beyond. Project-based learning has the potential to be adapted across settings to support student learning and host organisation services and their stakeholders. Universities should aim to encourage and support partnerships between host organisations and their students to adopt, evaluate and sustain project-based learning across physiotherapy settings.
Abstract: Clinicians and researchers in neurorehabilitation continue to have difficulties with reporting and describing the many active components used within physical therapy interventions. People with neurological conditions can present with cognitive, perceptual, behavioural and physical impairments that require individual consideration within their training program. Current knowledge from the areas from motor control theories, neuroscience and clinical evidence from neurological and musculoskeletal rehabilitation all inform the design of movement training programs. Such a diverse field of theoretical, scientific and clinical knowledge makes it difficult to agree upon a consistent way to label the many components relevant to training. This article proposes the use of ten guiding principles of movement training that can provide terminology for use in neurorehabilitation clinical practice that could be used by both professionals and individuals with neurological conditions. The ten Movement Training Principles could potentially improve interdisciplinary collaboration, enhance teaching of the clinical reasoning process and drive innovation for future therapies.
Background and purpose: It is necessary to bring the current understanding of pain to undergraduate, postgraduate, and staff of physiotherapy in all the universities and institutions in India. Approximately 15,000 (minimum) students are graduated every year from different institutions in India. More than 20,000 physiotherapists teach or practice in various institutions, hospitals, and universities. The current pain curriculum of the universities is outdated and scanty. Physiotherapists are first-line managers of pain and it is important for them to understand the current advances in pain management to effect competent practice. Methods: With this objective in mind, missing areas of pain science have been identified from the curricula of universities of India and instructional Digital Versatile Discs (DVD) were developed in these areas by experts. The DVDs were sent to all the universities and institutions by post and recommended to incorporate the information in the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. Results and discussion: The impact and reachability of the study were evaluated through Google forms and email responses received from the participating institutions. This project is expected to have a snowball effect by imparting current understanding and knowledge in young therapists and teaching faculty as the lectures are available perpetually on the website of the participating institution. Cultural and other characteristics are similar across the countries of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Myanmar) and all of these countries use English as the medium of higher education. Hence a regional impact is also anticipated.
Historically, clinical education of physiotherapy students in Germany takes place in inpatient settings. Against the background that the majority of graduated physiotherapists work in outpatient settings like private practices, this education structure is no longer viable. Therefore, there is a need to develop models of cooperation between private practice and schools of physiotherapy. The aim of this study is to describe options of cooperation between educational institutions and private practices. A qualitative interview study was conducted, in which 2 practice owners of a physiotherapy practice and 2 heads of physiotherapy schools were interviewed using a problem-centered interview approach. Textual data was analysed using thematic analysis, to inductively discover and describe relevant themes. Heads of schools and practice owners share many ideas about learning location cooperation, such as a restriction on the number of students for each practice, the timing of clinical education in private practice at the end of the study program, the need for close cooperation between schools and practices. To undertake clinical education in private practices, students can offer treatments in addition to what is covered by the health insurance companies. The clinical education should be supervised by private practice physiotherapists who need to be reimbursed. Therefore, a modification of external framework conditions is necessary. Private practices need financial and content-related support to engage in clinical education. Health insurance companies or the state could act as financial sponsors.
The fundamental role of ontology, epistemology, and ethics is widely recognised across the healthcare professions. Yet what is less known in physiotherapy is how ontology and epistemology potentially undermine the ethical intentions of our theories and practices. In this article, we draw on the work of 20th-century philosopher Emmanuel Levinas to highlight this problematic. Particularly Levinas’s ethical critique of ontology and the associated notion of thematisation enable us to highlight a violence that takes place in the philosophical foundations of physiotherapy. Using the overarching aims of physiotherapy, the theory and practice of diagnosis, and the notion and enforcing of professional identities as examples, we additionally show how this violence consequently pervades physiotherapy theory and practice. By exploring a range of critical and practical implications, we finally show how an application of Levinas’s critique of ontology additionally opens toward an otherwise physiotherapy grounded in a renewed understanding of self, other, and their relation. With this, we hope to highlight the core value and critical need for a deeper engagement with the work of Levinas in relation to all aspects of physiotherapy, and particularly its understanding and implementation of ethics that is so fundamental to its practice and a cornerstone of physiotherapy education.