Ms Sarah Barradell1, Dr Felicity Blackstock1,2, Dr Clarice Tang1, Ms Joan Leo1,3
1La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia,
2Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia
3Mercy Public Hospital Inc, Heidelberg, Australia
Aim: Explore the experiences of students who have completed non-clinical subjects that were facilitated by a health-care based professional within the clinical environment.
Method: This qualitative study used a phenomenologically-oriented approach to explore the experiences of participants who were physiotherapy students enrolled in two non-clinical practicum-based subjects. Subjects were facilitated by health-care based professionals in classroom settings co-located on a clinical site. Participants completed a total of 150 hours of either face-to-face or online learning activities across a 5-week time period. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant, one mid-way through, and the second at the end of the learning period. Data was thematically analysed by two investigators using an inductive approach.
Results: Three inter-related themes emerged. Firstly, meaning making is enhanced by the relevance and authenticity afforded by immersion in a practice-oriented classroom environment where health-care based professionals facilitate learning. Secondly, learning from those ‘in practice’ challenges participants’ professional and academic accountability. Finally, new educational processes infrastructures influences students’ agency to adopt a more independent and proactive learning approach.
Significance of the findings to allied health: Being taught by future potential supervisors/employers, plus learning within an environment that was different to the traditional university, unexpectedly created opportunities for students to adopt a more independent and proactive learning approach, albeit somewhat transiently.