University students' perceptions of neurology and experiences of learning neurological physiotherapy.

Walker, Kelly (2013) University students' perceptions of neurology and experiences of learning neurological physiotherapy. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The education of healthcare professions students in the effective management of people experiencing neurological conditions is essential. If physiotherapy students’ are experiencing neurophobia, the fear of neurology (Jozefowicz 1994: 328) it is important to understand the underlying reasons, to inform future teaching practice. The purpose of this research was to explore physiotherapy students’ perceptions of neurology and their experiences of learning neurological physiotherapy in one UK Higher Education Institution (HEI).
This mixed methods case study was conducted with all pre-registration physiotherapy students on the BSc and MSc programmes at the participating institution. The research consisted of an initial survey questionnaire to all students, followed by observations of neurology teaching sessions and interviews with students from each of the 3 BSc and 2 MSc year groups. The data was analysed using thematic analysis.
The results suggested that students’ perceptions of neurology and neurological disability were set long before they commenced on the programme and these preconceptions impacted on subsequent learning experiences. The students in the study unanimously felt that learning neurology was difficult. There were also concerns expressed about the pressure of an inherent perception of the high importance of the physiotherapist’s role in the rehabilitation of neurological patients, with the outcome of treatment having a life-changing effect on patients and their families.
The students’ experiences of learning neurological physiotherapy was challenged by difficulties conceptualising new neurological knowledge, learning a new approach to patient treatment, and the complexities of performing neurological physiotherapy clinical reasoning. This learning was also influenced by the methods of teaching taking into account the informal and non-formal learning along with the formal, and most significantly the lack of experiential learning with patients during the university based teaching.
The implications from this research can inform changes to the pedagogy within neurological physiotherapy and the wider programme content.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2014 08:52
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2014 08:52


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