Factors affecting curriculum content and the integration of evidence-based practice in entry-level physiotherapy programs

Lucy S. Chipchase, Marie T. Williams, Val J. Robertson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Decisions about curricular content in entry-level health professional programs are influenced by a variety of external and internal factors. However, little is known about how lecturers make decisions about the curricular content to be included or excluded from entry-level programs. This study aimed to explore the factors influencing such decision making regarding curricular content in entry-level Australian and New Zealand programs for physiotherapy, as well as how evidence-based practice (EBP) is integrated into the teaching and learning framework. Thirteen lecturers from 13 institutions (100% response rate) responsible for teaching a core part of physiotherapy practice, electrophysical agents, participated in a semistructured telephone interview. Decision making for curricular content involved an overall democratic process with the program team, but the day-to-day content was determined by the lecturer. Factors that lecturers reported as impacting on the choice of curriculum were current clinical practice, evidence, and accreditation or registration requirements. Thematic analysis of open-ended questions identified four main themes relating to the integration of the EBP paradigm within teaching: resource materials, use of broad definitions of evidence, inclusion of specific instructional strategies, and context of curriculum. Lecturers used a variety of research methodologies as a back-drop for the presentation of techniques and interventions that are used commonly in clinical practice despite limitations in the evidence base. The results highlighted tensions that exist when designing entry-level curricula with the need to prepare competent and safe practitioners while working within an EBP paradigm.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-23
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Allied Health
    Volume36
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

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