The purpose of this two-phase study was to examine the perspectives of clinical instructors and students involved in the 2:1 clinical teaching/learning model. Specifically investigated were the factors influencing the experience and the methods employed to enhance the success of the experience.
A grounded theory approach was utilized in two phases. The clinical settings were out-patient orthopedics, OP neurology, in-patient acute, military, and school-based pediatrics. Phase One consisted of 8 focus groups (3 focus groups of CIs, 5 focus groups of PT students) involving 20 students and 14 clinical instructors reflecting on the 2:1 clinical experience. Data from the focus groups was transcribed, theme coded and a concept map was developed. The CI and student participants in Phase Two (4 clinical instructors and 9 physical therapy students) were sent 5 journals over 10 weeks during the clinical experience to chronicle their perceptions of the 2:1 experience. At the conclusion of the Phase Two clinical experience, two focus groups were conducted, one with student participants and one with CI participants. Data from the journal entries and focus groups were transcribed, theme coded and the concept map was revised.
The results of the first phase of this study support previous findings that the 2:1 collaborative model can provide an effective and positive learning environment. Based on the journal entries and focus groups in Phase Two, the results further suggested a progression from two students acting as individuals to evolving as a team for patient care and learning. One of the main contributors to the progressive development of a team-based approach was the CIÕs ability to foster teamwork throughout the clinical experience. In addition, effective communication, self-reflection and feedback were found to be commonly used techniques by students and CIs, to address the various student, CI, and environmental characteristics to create a positive 2:1 clinical experience. Through the implementation of these techniques, a team was produced that emphasized effective planning, communication and peer-to-peer learning, thus contributing to a successful 2:1 clinical education model.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:
This first phase of this study identified personal factors, clinic logistics, and managing expectations as essential components of an effective 2:1 clinical experience. The second phase suggested that if the students and CI can foster a team-based approach, they can develop their interpersonal skills which were a strong component of a successful teaching/learning experience and facilitated professional development.