What are the advantages of taking a student?
Apart from giving back to the profession, clinicians may find they learn about best practice and the latest trends in physiotherapy as a result of supervising a student. It encourages clinicians to reflect on their practice and ensures that we are continually learning.
What is a clinical appointment?
A clinical appointment is offered to individuals who are not directly employed by the University of Alberta but have been committed to student clinical education by supervising students and /or coordinating the student placements at a site (Centre Coordinator for Clinical Education, CCCE). The individual will receive an honorary appointment by the University which will entitle them to benefits such as eligibility for memberships, clinical supervision workshops, e-journal access for certain levels of appointment as well as other continuing education opportunities.
What do I do if I want start supervising PT students?
You should contact the Physical Therapy department and speak with the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education. We can set up the process and send you out a New Site Package and give you some information and resources about supervising and evaluating students. Does the University offer workshops to help prepare clinicians wanting to supervise students? Yes, the Centre for Studies in Clinical Education (CSCE) usually holds two workshops a year. Typically these sessions are held in two locations depending on demand and depending on where in the province there is a need. We have several modules dealing with: supervision and evaluation, coaching, peer assisted learning, the 2:1 model and more.
What do I need to know before my first student arrives?
The Clinical Education website has a wealth of information about the PT program and this should be your first stop. A read through of the Site Manual will outline some of the policies and requirements of the program with respect to Clinical Education. There is also a section on supervising students and evaluating students which you may find useful. You may also like to familiarise yourself with the Assessment of Clinical Performance, or ACP, this is the evaluation tool used across Canada to evaluate students out on placement. Each placement is a course and as such each course has guidelines with respect to the amount of supervision, the complexity of the caseload and what is expected of the student. We have recently added the Clinical Skills Checklist to the website, which outlines which courses have been covered and what skills students have learned in class at each stage of the program. This may be useful to decide what your student should know before they start your placement.
What should the student be doing on the first few days?
Depends on the level of student and previous experiences you could approach the first few days in a number of ways. If this is a junior student or a student who has not had previous experience in this area you may wish to have the student shadow you for a few days and familiarise them with the caseload and patient population. Then gradually increase their caseload and monitor how things are progressing. If the student is more senior or has had previous experience in this or a related area you may wish to give them a small caseload and watch them interacting with the patients until you are comfortable that they will be able to cope with less supervision and a larger or more complex caseload. It is important in the first few days to sit down with the student and develop a learning plan to outline specific goals that you and the student have for the placement, this can then be "tweaked" and modified as the placement progresses. A learning plan can also be used as an additional evaluation tool to measure if the student is meeting the expectations of the placement.
What do I do if the student arrives inappropriately dressed?
There is a great variety in dress requirements at sites. If it is on the first day, inform the student as to what is expected for dress. If this is on subsequent days, reiterate the dress code, and if necessary send the student home to change.
What happens if the student misses days due to illness?
We have recently changed our policy to state that 100% attendance is expected from all students while on clinical placement. If a student is sick they should stay home so as not to compromise patients. However, the student should try and make up all missed time within the placement. If this is not possible please track the missed time and record it on the last page of the ACP. Please note, absences of more than one day within a placement must be accompanied by medical certification (i.e. two consecutive days or one day at the beginning and one or more days at a later stage in the placement).
What is the policy if a student asks for a day or time off?
100% attendance is expected for all students while on clinical placement. Approval from the ACCE must be given for any scheduled time off. Any sanctioned time off will need to be made up. Students are expected to organise medical appointments outside of placement hours.
How do I know what the students have learned to date when they come for a placement?
The MScPT Clinical Skills document outlines what courses have been covered by the students at specific interval throughout the program. It also highlights specific skills learned in each course.
What do I do when a second year student says "We haven't covered that" or "I don't know that" about a condition or skill that I assume they should know?
Please refer them to the clinical skills sheet and show them that indeed it has been taught in class. Then set out your expectations for the placement; that they will need to brush up on certain areas and come prepared in order to pass the placement. This goes to the heart of professional behaviour and is a red flag item on the ACP.
What are some strategies for dealing with a student who makes the same types of errors repeatedly even after several corrections and demonstrations?
We all have different learning styles, it may be beneficial at the beginning of the placement, or when these situations arise to sit down with the student and discuss your expectations for the placement. It may also be helpful to find out the best method for the student to learn the techniques or information. It is helpful to have ground rules and expectations to keep the student on track - "I am going to demonstrate this technique today, I expect you to practice it on your current caseload, or friends, and the next time you use it in a new assessment I will expect that you are able to do it with minimal guidance and input from me".
What do I do when the student and I have a "personality clash"?
On many occasions personality clashes have to do with communication. Sit down with the student and find out why the communication is breaking down and how it may be resolved. It may be around learning / communication styles or possibly the student is dealing with some issues outside of the placement. The students will be expected to adapt to different styles of teaching and learning, but it may be more beneficial for both parties to find a middle ground. If you are unable to resolve the problem please do not hesitate to resource your CCCE and contact the ACCE so that strategies may be developed to deal with the problem. You may want to encourage the student to focus on the patient and the goals of the placement and to move forward.
I am having a really stressful time with this student; the student arrives late, seems disinterested and does not communicate well. I have tried to help him/her, what do I do?
Professional behaviour is at the core of the program. Call the student on any unprofessional behaviour you observe and set clear expectations for the placement. Enlighten them to the fact that should their behaviour not improve dramatically they will fail the placement. Resourcing your CCCE and a call to the ACCE is advised in this case.
I have an exceptional student who has been a pleasure to have. Is there a way to reward them for that?
If it is a junior or intermediate student you may consider giving them a pass with distinction on the final page of the CPI, this will let the student know that they have performed well above the standard expected of them. If it is a senior student you may also give them a pass with distinction, however you may also consider a nomination for the Student Clinician Award. Please contact the ACCE or check the Clinical Education website for more information.
What is the Student Clinician Award?
This award recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in clinical placements. Nominations will be solicited from clinicians by the Academic Coordinators of Clinical Education following the final fall placements. Adjudication of the award will be conducted by the CSCE. Each award recipient will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a $750.00 prize. The award will be presented at the convocation ceremony for each department. If you had a senior level student who truly excelled in a placement, please consider nominating him/her for this award.
How do I evaluate the student and how do I use the ACP?
The Clinical Education website has information specific to evaluation and supervision. There is an online education presented by the University of Toronto that provides more information at app.rehab.utoronto.ca/ACP/story.html. Should you still need assistance please contact us so we may forward you some further information.
What happens when a student receives an overall credit with exceptional performance (Cr+)?
The student's transcript will read as Credit, but the student will know that his/her performance was outstanding. Students who demonstrate excellence in clinical education throughout the program may be eligible for the Student Clinician Award.
What happens when a student receives a credit with reservation (Cr-)?
The student will receive credit on their academic transcript. However, the student will complete a remedial placement in an area similar to this current placement to help consolidate the knowledge and skills. The clinician may make recommendations in what ways the student could be brought up to standard. The ACCE will take these recommendations into account when placing the student in their next clinical placement.
What happens when a student FAILS a placement?
The student will receive 'No Credit' on their academic transcript. The student will also be required to complete an extra placement in the same clinical setting and patient population in order to consolidate learning in that area.
The University is always asking for placement offers and yet my offers never seem to be picked by students. Why is that?
This is a complex question. Although we are in constant need of placement offers, some specific placement settings are harder to secure than others. We are always in need of Cardiorespiratory and Neurology placements, yet have a wide selection of orthopaedic and out-patient type settings. As a result some of ortho offers go unused. Also, some "specialty" settings are only offered once or twice a year and tend to draw the students away from other offers. In addition, students are typically paying for accommodation in Edmonton so placements in other areas involve an additional cost to the students. Unless there is reasonable accommodation available or student has family/friends living in the area, the expense may deter students from picking certain sites.
Why do some students seem very "green" in their first six week placement?
Junior students in the program are exposed to the clinical setting quite early in their training. At the time they start their first placement they will have learned about the basic fundamentals of what a physiotherapist does, basic MSK assessment and treatment, as well as basic cardiorespiratory physiotherapy. They will have had minimal hands on experience. As a result, during the first placement junior students will require more teaching time, more guidance and direct supervision. The clinical skills checklist will help guide you as to what the student has covered to date for each placement. It can be found on the Clinical Education website.