Weighing up the benefits and challenges of hosting physiotherapy student placements in private practice; a qualitative exploration

Roma Forbes, Alana Dinsdale, Ruth Dunwoodie, Stephen Birch, Sandra Brauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: New graduate physiotherapists are entering private practice in increasing numbers despite limited opportunity to experience this setting during training. Exploring the perceived benefits and challenges of physiotherapy private practices in hosting students is important to help understand what motivates private practices to engage in clinical education and inform how practices can be best supported in student placement provision. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the benefits and challenges of hosting physiotherapy students from the perspective of private practice providers. Methods: A qualitative study with an inductive thematic analytical approach was used. Semi-structured interviews of 10 physiotherapy private practice placement providers responsible for student placement provision were undertaken. Results: Five themes emerged: 1) value to client care; 2) value to staff; 3) value to future planning; 4) contribution to students and the profession; and 5) stress associated with resources. Discussion and Conclusion: Private practice placement providers perceive a range of benefits to their practice, staff and clients, including rich opportunities for future recruitment when hosting physiotherapy students. These benefits are carefully weighed up against the required resources of time, physical space and opportunities for students to participate in client care. This study has identified implications for education providers in supporting physiotherapy student placements within private practice and may enhance placement capacity within this sector.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2020


  • clinical education
  • placements
  • Private practice
  • students
  • work integrated learning


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