The Physiotherapy team has worked collaboratively with students and service users to develop a unique university physiotherapy clinic service. The aims behind these developments were to enhance student outcomes and employability, evolve current models of practice education and shape tomorrow’s healthcare professionals to allow them to challenge and transform services in the future.
Having a physiotherapy clinic in a university that provides some clinical experience for students is not unique. However, through collaboration the team has developed a distinctive clinical service. Most student clinics are run by a couple of staff volunteers or a single dedicated clinician providing a limited number of opportunities for students to practice clinical skills as an adjunct to their learning. The team is distinctive by, amongst other things:
- Being a completely ‘student-led’ full time clinic where all activities involve students working in partnership with the physiotherapy academic team.
- Offering full-time work-based learning placements for students.
- Bringing together staff, students and service users to form an active steering group that shapes the clinic to best meet the needs of students and patients.
The impact of the clinic on the student learning experience has been overwhelmingly positive. It has transformed the student’s preparations for traditional physiotherapy placements and early evidence demonstrates positive impact on student attainment. The student-led clinic is now an integral part of the University, servicing its occupational health physiotherapy requirements (the only student-led clinic doing this), supporting its sports teams and being an active member in its health and wellbeing initiatives.
The team’s work has been discussed directly with more than 20 universities at a national professional body forum, leading an approach for consultancy to support one university embarking on its first physiotherapy degree. The team’s commitment to working collaboratively with students as partners has developed excellence, had demonstrable positive impact on student learning and has inspired us to disseminate their work through scholarly writing, publication and conference.