Student physiotherapists' perspectives of peer learning during multi-model placements

Jasmine Tailor, Hannah Wadsworth, Michelle McCallig, Hazel Horobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Placements are a key component of physiotherapy courses; however, placement providers struggle to meet rising demands. To enhance placement capacity, multi-models are increasingly employed, where Universities place more than one student with one educator. Student support on placement is important, and studies exploring multi-placement models reveal educators welcome the peer support possible with this placement pattern. This research explored UK physiotherapy students' perspectives of peer relationships during placements, for which there is yet little research. Eight single, semi-structured interviews were conducted, exploring students' experiences of peer working on placement October to December 2020. Participants and researchers were undergraduate students at the same UK university. Interviews were virtual, recorded via Microsoft Teams and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed first individually, then collaboratively, sharing ideas and interpretations using a phenomenologically informed analytical lens. Two main themes were identified: collaboration vs conflict and supportive vs hindering relationships. Students appreciated the emotional and academic support from peers, but there could be difficulties in generating constructive peer relationships, and sometimes a sense of competition from divided tutor attention. Multi-model placements provide social and emotional support to students, increasing their confidence. Peer relationships present opportunities for collaborative working and academic support if they are adequately framed as such by the practice educator and wider team. Students may benefit from university-based support to prepare them to maximise the peer relationship. Practice educators may benefit from information about supporting students in multi-model placements. Student-led research can offer rich qualitative data and helpful educational solutions. This small project from one UK University produced similar findings as research from other professions: placement peer relationships had the capacity to provide helpful social and emotional support to students, resulting in greater levels of confidence, collaborative working, and learning. However, there were indications that educational institutions could a) further support students to develop their capabilities in cooperative peer working, and b) assist educators to manage the challenges of multi-model placements. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2024


  • Multi-model placement
  • Peer impact


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