Clinical educator’s experiences of the decentralised training platform for Occupational Therapy students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Background: In piloting a shift from traditional practice-based placements to decentralised clinical training (DCT), there was a need to explore the factors that influenced the placement as part of monitoring and evaluation. DCT involves placement
to clinical sites away from the higher education institution necessitating changes to supervision strategies utilised.
Objective: This study explored the experiences of clinical educators supervising occupational therapy students within this new model during a pilot phase of the DCT programme at one institution in South Africa.
Method: The study was located in KwaZulu-Natal province and followed an explorative qualitative design with semi-structured interviews and focus groups with purposively sampled clinical educators (n=11). Data were audio-recorded and thematically analysed.
Findings: Two central themes emerged and included the clinical educators’ expectations (organisation factors, role and scope of partners in decentralised training and communication) and experiences (perspectives and value of decentralised training).
Conclusion: Decentralised training has considerable potential to contribute to authentic student learning. Improved communication between all stakeholders would assist in enhancing the quality of the learning experiences on such platforms. Students need to be more prepared prior to commencing DCT, and there is a need for more rural placements with a primary health care focus.
Keywords: Decentralised training; clinical educators; service learning.
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