Exploring student fitness to practise (FTP) issue identification and management with allied health clinical educators in a tertiary health service

Melanie K Farlie, Joanne Thorpe, Kristin Lo


Background: Health professional students may experience fitness to practise (FTP) issues that affect their performance during clinical placements.  Previous research with physiotherapy clinical educators found educators were aware of student FTP issues but lacked confidence in assisting students with FTP issues in the clinical setting.

Aim: This research project aimed to 1) evaluate if a brief interprofessional education session changed the knowledge of supports and/or confidence of allied health clinical educators to manage student FTP issues that arise on clinical placement, 2) to elucidate personal experiences of allied health clinical educators with student FTP issues and 3) to explore allied health educator recommendations of strategies to use when supporting students on clinical placement.

Method: Allied health clinical educators attended a 1.5-hour workshop about student FTP. Participants identified student FTP issue identification and management strategies during clinical placements and completed pre-post surveys. Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed with independent t-tests, content and thematic analysis respectively.

Results: Forty-six clinical educators from nine professions participated. Participants initially lacked confidence and identified a need for training to support students with FTP issues.  On reflection participants identified numerous strategies that use or recommend to support students with additional learning needs, and confidence increased following the session.

Discussion:  A brief facilitated workshop had an immediate impact on clinical educator confidence regarding defining FTP and knowledge of supports available.  Participants offered several experience informed insights and recommendations that build on a previous study of physiotherapy clinical educators. 

Conclusion:  A brief education session with an interprofessional group of allied health clinical educators elucidated a number of important strategies to consider when supporting students with FTP issues in the clinical setting.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.33966/hepj.3.1.14189


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