Using technology to enhance physical therapy students’ problem-solving skills around safe patient handling

Venerina Johnston, Jennifer C. Nitz, Rosemary Isles, Lucy Chipchase, Louise Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Physical therapy students are at risk of musculoskeletal injuries during patient handling. Current guidelines recommend a risk management approach to reduce the likelihood of injury associated with patient handling. Objectives: To determine the benefits of online scenarios using scenario-based learning interactive (SBLi®) to enhance students’ confidence in making decisions around patient handling techniques, including equipment, and in practical patient handling skills. Methods: Third year undergraduate and first year graduate-entry masters (GEM) students from the 2011 cohort of the physical therapy program at The University of Queensland received comprehensive training in patient handling. Only GEM students completed two SBLi patient scenarios. Students’ confidence in selecting patient handling techniques and equipment was assessed pre- and post-training with three statements scored on a 10-cm visual analogue scale anchored from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Patient handling skills were assessed with a practical skill assessment. Student satisfaction with SBLi as a learning platform was determined with three items and a focus group with eight students. Results: Students’ confidence in performing a patient risk assessment and selecting appropriate patient handling technique and equipment improved with training. However, the online scenarios provided no additional advantage to the GEM students’ confidence in these tasks or in the practical skill assessment. GEM students were moderately satisfied with SBLi as a learning platform, reporting that it assisted their clinical preparation for the clinical environment and increased their awareness for safety of themselves and others. Conclusions: The online interactive scenarios provided no additional benefit but may assist student preparation for the clinical environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Using technology to enhance physical therapy students’ problem-solving skills around safe patient handling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this