Exploring student fitness to practise (FTP) issue identification and management with allied health clinical educators in a tertiary health service

Dr Melanie Farlie1,2, Ms Joanne Thorpe1, Dr Kristin Lo2

1Monash Health , Clayton, Australia, 2Monash University, Frankston, Australia


The aims of this research project were to 1) evaluate if a 1.5 hour interprofessional education workshop changed the knowledge, perceptions and confidence of clinical educators to manage student FTP issues, and 2) discuss personal experience clinical educators have had to date with students  FTP issues and management strategies they would recommend.

Seventy-seven allied health clinical educators from ten professions attended a 1.5 hour interprofessional education workshop about student FTP. Participants contributed to group discussions regarding identification and management strategies to address student FTP issues. Participants completed pre and post surveys. Quantitative data was analysed using independent t-testing. Qualitative data was analysed using content analysis.

There was pre and post data for 46 multidisciplinary participants. Clinical competency issues were discussed including the role of student insight. Participants preferred to have mental health issues such as anxiety disclosed early using feed forward mechanisms. The importance of clinical educator preparation was discussed as participants lacked confidence and felt that they had inadequate training to support students with FTP issues. There were indications to put the onus on the student, set expectations early and develop understanding of how to best provide feedback. Support from the university and other staff was important.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
A multidisciplinary group were able to elucidate a range of strategies that may assist supporting students with FTP issues across professions.


Mel Farlie is Allied Health Education Lead at Monash Health in the Workforce Innovation, Strategy, Education & Research (WISER) Unit and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Physiotherapy Department at Monash University.