WCPT Briefing Paper on Impact of COVID-19 on Physiotherapy Education

The briefing paper is the first in a series planned by WCPT exploring the  response of the global physiotherapy profession to COVID-19.

The WCPT issues briefing papers to inform the global profession about key issues affecting our profession. The exact name of this briefing paper is [the] ‘Immediate Impace on The Higher Education Sector and Response to Delivering Physiotherapist Entry Level Education’ and is the first in a series assessing the impact of COVID-19 on our profession.

Physiopedia is really proud to have been a part of this collaborative effort to understand how education has been affected and how it will be transformed to enable our profession to overcome the new way of learning and teaching during the pandemic. It is likely education will never be the same again and the reimagine and reshape section shows how we can overcome barriers.

Of course the most important part of the paper is understanding how educational programmes have been affected and what we need to do to enable our students to continue to progress through their programmes whilst mid-pandemic. This took place via a survey of over 300 students from 58 countries and the key messages are:

  • Most of the respondents noted that access to clinical and practice education will be and currently is a major challenge.
  • Most have already moved to online classes covering theory, critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills.
  • For those in non-graduatingyears of education:
    • 40% have been offered postponement
    • 30% propose to substitute with tele-rehab/tele-health
    • 36% considered non-clinical practice and 31% simulations
    • 26% have had their hours at university reduced
  • Graduating years:
    • over 1/3 face delay in their graduation
    • 1/3 have had a substitute learning experience introduced
    • 1/4 have had practice hour(s) target reduced

Clearly the impact is huge and for those hwo have had components postponed or cancelled fitting them in next academic year or when possible is going to be a huge challenge. There are no answers at this time and the discussion is taking place on social media so make sure you share your thoughts there. In the meantime make sure your students are checking out all of our excellent resources on Physiopedia for the best free physiotherapy content in the world.

Download The Briefing Paper Here

The next briefing paper will focus on rehabilitation.