No model of clinical education for physiotherapy students is superior to another: A systematic review

Peter Lekkas, Thomas Larsen, Saravana Kumar, Karen Grimmer, Leah Nyland, Lucy Chipchase, Gwendolen Jull, Peter Buttrum, Libby Carr, Jenny Finch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Question: Which models of undergraduate/entry-level clinical education are being used internationally in allied health disciplines? What is the effect and, from the perspective of stakeholders, what are the advantages, disadvantages, and recommendations for successful implementation of different models of undergraduate/entry-level clinical education? Design: Systematic review with data from quantitative and qualitative studies synthesised in a narrative format. Participants: Undergraduates/entry-level students from five allied health disciplines undergoing clinical education. Intervention: Six broad models of clinical education: one-educator-to-one-student (1:1); one-educator-to-multiple-students (1:2); multiple-educators-to-one-student (2:1); multiple-educators-to-multiple-students (2:2); non-discipline-specific-educator and student-as-educator. Outcome measures: Models were examined for productivity; student assessment; and advantages, disadvantages, and recommendations for implementation. Results: The review found few experimental studies, and a large amount of descriptive research and opinion pieces. The rigour of quantitative evidence was low, however qualitative was higher. Evidence supporting one model over another was largely deficient with few comparative studies available for analysis. Each model proffered strengths and weaknesses, which were unique to the model. Conclusion: There is currently no 'gold standard' model of clinical education. The perception that one model is superior to any other is based on anecdotes and historical precedents, rather than on meaningful, robust, comparative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physiotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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