Physiotherapy student attitudes to ageing and generic skills change after two weeks of introductory clinical placement in residential aged care facilities
Physiotherapy student attitudes to ageing and generic skills change after two weeks of introductory clinical placement in residential aged care facilities. 1Laakso, L. and 2Kilsby, E. 1School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, and 2School of Psychology, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. Background: There are critical workforce shortages of physiotherapists in all sectors in Australia especially aged care. An emphasis on generic skills training for health professionals is essential in introductory clinical placements when educating physiotherapists for the real world. Aims: Introduce physiotherapy students to the aged care sector with the aim of addressing critical workforce shortages in the longer term. Expose students to aged care early and measure their attitudes to ageing (A2A) over time. Define and emphasise generic skills development in beginner physiotherapy students. Method: All beginning physiotherapy students in 2 cohorts were immersed in residential aged care facilities for an intensive 2 week introductory clinical experience under supervision primarily of the nursing team (& physiotherapist when available). Data collection & analysis: Students' attitudes to ageing were measured (frequency distribution & cross-tabulations) at entry to the physiotherapy program; and prior to & after completing the Introductory placement. Quantitative and qualitative feedback from students, facility staff & residents was collated. Student perceptions of generic skills development was measured at exit points (self-reflective survey tool & Likert scales). Results: Of 27 items on the A2A questionnaire, 15 items demonstrated a positive change, 7 items demonstrated a negative change & 5 items demonstrated no change. Qualitative / thematic analysis demonstrated the benefits of the experience to students, staff and residents. Generic skills development improved in all skill areas in the majority of respondents. Conclusions: Changes to students' attitudes to ageing and generic skills development are possible under this model. Some bias toward a negative change in attitude for some students was probably based on the type of resident/s they may have been exposed to in the facilities.
Gold Coast Health & Medical Research Conference 2007