Briefing paper focuses on immediate impact of COVID-19 on physiotherapy students

World Physiotherapy has published a briefing paper on the immediate impact of COVID-19 on students and the response to delivering physiotherapist entry level education, as part of the response by the global physiotherapy profession to COVID-19.

The briefing paper analyses survey responses from 3,840 students enrolled in over 400 higher education institutions across 52 countries about their early experiences.

The responses provide an insight into how students experienced this period of uncertainty and change as the programmes they followed resolved the immediate challenges and addressed short-term issues. 

Lea Henreich, a physiotherapy student in Finland who helped with the survey analysis, said: “In this situation it is essential to collaborate and work hand in hand to find solutions. This survey was a great tool to do this.

“Analysing the responses was eye-opening. We have been through this exceptional situation, with struggles for everyone, and responses to the survey have highlighted our very different experiences.

“As a student I was grateful to have the chance to share my experience and I felt my story was heard and listened to - each of our situations and stories matter. I believe it is essential to keep a positive mind, and I hope that all over the world, students, teachers, and wider society, show understanding, trust, and flexibility towards each other and value the efforts that are being made. 

“We need to be open to learn in and from the process, and seize opportunities for creativity and innovation, so that we can grow through this period together.”

The survey also captured students’ concerns and recommendations for the future post-pandemic return.

These insights from students can serve as a point of reference for higher education institutions as they plan for the future and consider their response from a user point of view.

World Physiotherapy president Emma Stokes said: “It is great to see such a large and diverse student response to this survey. 

“Understanding the student experience and learning from it will help educators reimagine our return to teaching and make sure we create a student-centred experience.

“Our global student community is filled with committed people who are smart and have creative minds. This bodes well as we move into the next phase of our new way of living.”

The briefing paper is the third in a series planned by World Physiotherapy exploring the response of the global physiotherapy profession to COVID-19. Future briefing papers will consider the impact on professional regulation arising from disruption in the education sector, and rehabilitation in fragile systems and vulnerable communities.

Download the briefing paper

Download the briefing paper (PDF)




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