These guidelines have been prepared collaboratively by:
- Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)
- Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)
- School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan
Preamble: SGI and WCB are pleased to be involved in the provision of secondary and tertiary level clinical experience for future physical therapy care providers in Saskatchewan. Physical Therapy (PT) students value the opportunity to gain clinical experience in diverse clinical settings, and an opportunity to explore possible future career directions. The School of Physical Therapy at the University of Saskatchewan also has a mandate to provide diverse undergraduate experience in various clinical settings.
When physical therapy students are placed in WCB / SGI Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Centres, the model of care is one of direct supervision whereby the accredited physical therapist is present with the client and the PT student during interactions.
There are five sections to this document:
- Statement of General Principles and Expectations
- Orientation of Physical Therapy Students for Placements in WCB / SGI Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Centres
- Benefits of PT Student Placements in WCB / SGI Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Centres
- Background Documents
1. Statement of General Principles and Expectations:
The Saskatchewan College of Physical Therapists (SCPT) is the licensing body for physical therapists in Saskatchewan, and as such, governs the profession via The Physical Therapists Act, 1998 and subsequent Bylaws.
The licensed provider (ie. the physical therapist) is directly accountable for all care delivered by unlicensed providers (ie. the PT student or others) under their supervision.
- SCPT Regulatory Bylaw XVI.6: Physical Therapists shall assume full responsibility for all care they provide.
- SCPT Regulatory Bylaw XVI.12: Physical Therapists are responsible for all duties they delegate to personnel under their supervision.
Physical Therapy students should only be assigned to work with appropriate patients, based on sound clinical judgment of the physical therapist.
- SCPT Regulatory Bylaw XVI.19: Physical Therapists shall maintain an optimum standard of practice by exercising competent professional judgment and by continually striving to improve knowledge and professional skills.
All Physical Therapy students should be properly introduced to all clients as students, and informed consent should be obtained from each client in regards to working with the student, under the supervision of the physical therapist.
- SCPT Regulatory Bylaw XVI.4: Physical Therapists must give clients or surrogates the opportunity to consent or decline treatment or alterations in the treatment regime.
All physiotherapists have a responsibility to provide clinical education to physical therapy students.
- Canadian Physiotherapy Association Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct (3.6): Physiotherapists shall be willing and diligent preceptors in the education of physiotherapy students.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association believes that physiotherapists play a critical role in sharing their expertise with physiotherapy students to ensure the provision of quality physiotherapy health care to Canadians. CPA appreciates the challenges to the provision of student clinical education and promotes flexible solutions and support from all stakeholders (CPA Position Statement on Clinical Education of Physiotherapy students, Feb 2002).
2. Orientation of Physical Therapy Students for Placements in WCB / SGI Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Centres:
- The School of Physical Therapy will offer special orientation sessions for all physical therapy students entering clinical placements in WCB / SGI Secondary & Tertiary Treatment settings, prior to the clinical experience. Students will participate in a mandatory orientation session to prepare them for this unique clinical setting, covering topics such as:
- Education regarding the nature of the patient population and its complex presentation
- Direction regarding how to respond to questions from patients and family members
- Instruction re: direct supervision model of the placement
- Clear definition of the limitations of the student, based on their level of training and experience as applied in this setting
- Clinical reasoning / decision-making
- Discussion of environmental factors to consider
- The Treatment Centre will also provide a specific student orientation to the placement, covering topics such as:
- Policies and procedures of the centre
- Philosophy of care
- Expectations of the student during the placement
- Instructions re: direct supervision model of the placement and communication with clients
4. Benefits of PT Student Placements in WCB / SGI Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Centres:
- Many patients/clients enjoy the opportunity to interact with health care students and want to contribute to the professional development of future health care providers
- The student often contributes current resources and evidence to support practice theory by bringing: current references, textbooks, course notes, journal articles, practice guidelines, etc.
- The formative experience of a clinical placement helps to prepare physiotherapists of the future for roles in secondary and tertiary care. Students gain an understanding of secondary and tertiary care provision from experienced Clinical Instructors and have a chance to consolidate the application of theoretical knowledge into practice.
- Physical Therapy students can be excellent assistants and coaches for the clients, under the supervision of an experienced PT
- The clinical instructor acts as a role model by mentoring and teaching best practice, and by selecting opportunities for the students to observe, develop their skills, and reflect in an interdisciplinary environment
- Physical Therapy student placements assist organizations in recruiting physiotherapy professionals with a special interest in this area
- Adequate diversity of experience in undergraduate PT preparation
- An affiliation with the University increases the credibility and prestige of the facility, and also helps the facility meet standards with accrediting bodies such as CARF
5. Background Documents
The following documents and reference materials were utilized in preparing these Guidelines for Physical Therapy Student Placements in WCB / SGI Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Centres (November 2005):
- Professional Behaviour Guidelines for Physical Therapy students, University of Saskatchewan
- Canadian Physiotherapy Position Statement on Clinical Education of Physiotherapy Students (2002)
- Saskatchewan College of Physical Therapists: Regulatory Bylaws
- Canadian Physiotherapy Association Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct (1989)