Addressing the blind spot: the development of an assessment tool to evaluate a physiotherapy clinical education programme

Naidoo, Vaneshveri
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Background: Clinical education is a core component of a physiotherapy undergraduate curriculum. It provides a unique opportunity for students to learn technical (assessment and treatment skills) and non-technical skills (reflection; critical analysis, attitudes, and professional behaviour) in the real milieu, where theoretical knowledge and skills are applied and mastered. The evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of physiotherapy clinical education has been unsuccessful due to its complexity, and the lack of a standardised evaluation tool. This gap has led to the development of this study. Purpose: The aim of this study was to develop, validate and test the reliability an assessment tool that evaluates the effectiveness of a physiotherapy undergraduate clinical education programme. Method: A mixed-method study of four phases. The first phase determined the items and domains that needed to be included in the tool. Focus group discussions (FGD) were held nationally in South Africa with physiotherapy academics; clinical supervisors/educators; clinical managers and newly qualified physiotherapists. Phases two-four determined the face, content and construct validity of the tool, via the Delphi method and a survey, respectively. Additionally, exploratory factor analysis was used for item reduction and reordering the final tool. Results: Three themes emerged from the FGD: Governance; Structure and Experience, with domains and items relating to: Governance; Academic Processes; Learning Exposure; Clinical Orientation; Clinical Supervision and Quality Assurance & Monitoring and Evaluation. The Vaneshveri Naidoo Clinical Programme Evaluation Tool (VN-CPET) of 58 items, and six categories was developed. VN-CPET was found to be valid and reliable (α=0.75). Conclusion: VN-CPET, a validated and reliable standardised monitoring and evaluation tool – the first of its kind, can be used to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of a physiotherapy undergraduate clinical education programme
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Therapeutic Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021