Closing the Feedback Loop – Quality Proofing the Practice Education Process

Alpine, L. and R, Creighton (2013) Closing the Feedback Loop – Quality Proofing the Practice Education Process. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


Audit is an integral part of ensuring the quality proofing any process. Specific aspects of the Practice Education Programme in the BSc Physiotherapy, TCD were audited in 2011, by means of anonymous questionnaire distributed to the Practice Educator’s. Questionnaire development was informed by Guidelines for Good Practice in Practice Education. The questionnaire sought information concerning the educators duration of experience supervising students, their clinical area of expertise, students level of preparedness for the placement and communication with the Practice Education Team. Data were analysed using PASW Version 18 and qualitative theme identification with results presented in aggregate format. The response rate was 57%, of which 78% were from Practice Tutor sites. Eighty-one percent of respondents had greater than 24 months experience supervising students, only 10% had less than 6 months. The majority of respondents (>80%) rated high overall satisfaction - with the practice education process, access to and communication with the Practice Education Team. Qualitative themes generated included: differences in supervision or learning requirements dependent on year of study, curriculum content, professionalism and information dissemination encompassing the website. While supporting documentation was available to Practice Educators many were unsure where to locate it. All practice education stakeholders (Practice Educators, Physiotherapy Managers, Students, HEI staff, Practice Education Team) identified from the audit process were included in the feedback loop. Quality measures implemented as a result of the audit were: a) dissemination of the audit results by means of a report to the Physiotherapy Managers b) streamlining of relevant documentation to website c) use of clinical opinion to inform the curriculum d) issues of professionalism awareness raised with students through a discussion forum. Feedback from PE’s is an essential element of quality assurance in Practice Education. This process provided a voice for Practice Educators who remain central to the provision of Practice Education. Future audits could include feedback from Physiotherapy Managers to gain a broader view of the Practice Education Process in the clinical sites.

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