Physiotherapy practice education in a seven-day model of working
: an exploratory study

  • Sarah Caroline Elliott

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of practice education in a seven-day model of working within physiotherapy. Many physiotherapy services are now providing a seven-day service, so student placements may be offered across a seven-day week instead of the traditional five. This is a transitioning experience for physiotherapy students, practice educators and universities alike, and currently little evidence exists on this topic.

    A qualitative interpretive approach informed by phenomenology was taken. A purposive sample of six physiotherapy students, six practice educators and three university link tutors were asked to talk in a semi-structured interview about their experiences of practice placements hosted across a seven-day model of working. Thematic analysis through a lens of communities of practice and legitimate peripheral participation was used to interpret and present the findings. Ethical approval was sought and gained from the University of Brighton’s Faculty of Health and Social Science Research Ethics and Governance Committee.

    Three interrelated themes emerged from the data: barriers, challenges and changes within physiotherapy practice education in a seven-day model of working. Findings suggest that physiotherapy practice education in a seven-day model does offer a unique learning opportunity in an authentic and relevant context which assists in preparing physiotherapy graduates for future practice through legitimate peripheral participation. Additionally, practice educators, physiotherapy students and academics all demonstrate the opinion that there is a requirement for the profession to deliver a seven-day physiotherapy service so to improve patient care. This study identified that there are challenges to learning in a seven-day model due to inconsistent working patterns which physiotherapy students feel have a direct link to their performance. These inconsistent working patterns also challenge team dynamics, caseload management and clinical reasoning. This study has also highlighted that the construction of a professional identity within seven-day practice placements is complex but can be linked to personal, practice and professional constructs. Further research into further potential pedagogical approaches to seven-day practice education is recommended.

    The findings of this study contribute new knowledge to physiotherapy practice education on the impact of inconsistent working patterns that are experienced during seven-day working that have not previously been identified or discussed.
    Date of AwardMay 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorAngela Glynn (Supervisor) & Jane Morris (Supervisor)

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