Status: Article accepted
Background: Feedback from students regarding their clinical learning environment and clinicians teaching attributes should be evaluated regularly to monitor students' learning experiences, which can affect learning outcomes, the readiness for professional practice, and the level of satisfaction with the profession. Differences may exist in this feedback from students based on their institution, level of study, and characteristics of the clinicians. Aim: To evaluate physiotherapy students’ perception of their clinical learning environment and clinicians’ teaching attributes. Methods: This cross-sectional study utilised 258 participants from two academic institutions, which offer physiotherapy training in southeast Nigeria. A self-structured questionnaire, the McGill Clinical Teacher Evaluation tool (MCGill CTE) and the Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM) were used to collect the data. Descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation were used to present the mean scores obtained on the DREEM questionnaire and McGill CTE tool. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine the difference in the students’ perception of their clinical learning environment and clinicians' teaching attributes based on their institution of learning and level of study. In addition, the Mann-Whitney U test also determined the difference in the students' perception of their clinicians teaching attributes based on the clinicians' gender, while the Kruskal Wallis test determined the difference in the students' perception of their clinician's teaching attributes based on their last clinical posting unit and the highest educational level of the clinicians. Results: The students perceived their learning environment to be “more positive than negative”. The highest-rated domain in the DREEM questionnaire was "perception of learning", while the lowest was "social perception". The highest-rated attribute for clinicians in the McGill CTE tool was "clinical interest in helping students to learn", while the lowest was "emphasises concept rather than factual recall". A significant difference was observed in the students rating of their clinical learning environment based on their institution and level of study. Conclusion: There is a need for regular evaluation of students' perception of their clinicians’ teaching attributes and the clinical learning environment to ensure the desired learning outcomes are attained and that students are ready for professional practice after training.