Perception of physiotherapy educators in southwest Nigeria on clinical education of undergraduate physiotherapy students
It is widely accepted internationally that clinical education is integral to physiotherapy curricula. Clinical education and the supervisory process it involves are important and distinct parts of health care education. Physiotherapy clinical education appears to be least researched into in Nigeria. The aim of this study was to seek opinions regarding the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the models of clinical education used in south-west, Nigeria. Seventy- four (45 males, 29 females) physiotherapy educators participated in this cross-sectional population-based survey. They were recruited from the three university institutions in South-west Nigeria that run physiotherapy program and their associated teaching hospitals. A self-developed, validated 16 open and 4 close-ended questionnaire was used to solicit information on the opinions of physiotherapy educators on clinical education of undergraduate physiotherapy students in south western Nigeria. Responses to the open-ended questions formed the data set for investigating the perceptions that physiotherapy educators in Nigeria hold of clinical education of their undergraduate students. Data was coded, categorized and conceptualized into themes using content thematic analysis. Participants were aged 38±7 years. Fifty-three (71%) participants had postgraduate qualifications. Twenty-two (29.7%) participants reported that they have received formal training in clinical education prior to this study. Seven themes (which include opportunity to relate theory to practical, increased confidence, improved relationship between academics and clinicians, improved clinicians standard of practice, improved student’s competence) were identified on participants’ perceived advantages and eight themes (which include lack of remuneration, short period of training, low clinical educator to student ratio, inadequate monitoring of students, unsynchronized teaching between lecturers and clinicians) on their perceived disadvantages of clinical education. Suggested ways for improvement include remuneration of clinical educators, formal training, improved collaboration between lecturers and clinicians, standardized format of clinical education. The perceived advantages of the delivery of clinical education of physiotherapy students in south-west Nigeria are many though there are advantages. Policies that will take into consideration the perceived disadvantages should be structured and put in place by the Nigeria University Commission. This will invariably improve the clinical competence of the students when they become professionals. University authorities should concertedly provide a funding model that will incorporate clinicians as formal, well-remunerated clinical educators of undergraduate physiotherapy students.
Keywords: Physiotherapy education, undergraduate, south western Nigeria