Internal Elements and External Factors Affecting Physiotherapy Clinical Education from Physiotherapy Student’s Perspectives: Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Master in Rehabilitation Management, Rehabilitation Management Dept, Rehabilitation Sciences School, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Mirdamad St, Madar Sq, Shah-nazari St, Nezam St, Tehran, Iran. Contact

2 Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Research Center, Rehabilitation Management Dept, Rehabilitation Sciences School, Iran University of Medical Sciences

3 Assistant Professor, Physiotherapy Dept, Rehabilitation Sciences School, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Lecturer, Social Welfare Dept, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Evin St, Daneshjoo Blvd, Kodakyar St, Tehran, Iran.



Introduction: Clinical education is an integral part of physiotherapy education and has a special status. During this course, the students gradually acquire experience and prepare their minds to solve patient’s problems. Like all programs, clinical education has formed by processes and elements on which some external factors are effective. This study has focused on the internal elements and external factors affecting clinical education based on students’ experiences. Material & Methods: This qualitative study has conducted through content analysis method. Research population included senior students of physiotherapy among whom 21 students selected purposefully. Focus Group Discussion was used to collect data. Findings: After analyzing the data and codes synthesis, 11 sub-themes and 4 themes emerged. Themes of “Human” and “Physical” elements form area of the “internal elements” and themes of “university policies” and “approaches and practices” form the external factors. Inconsistency of some existing policies and approaches with objectives of the clinical education course can cause lack of richness in clinical experience. Conclusion: Considering the obtained codes, the human elements had a more prominent position than the physical elements. Although the educational departments cannot intervene in some elements such as characteristics of patient and personality characteristics of educators and students, their identification as influential elements can provide a different experience for the students. It seems that some issues such as accurate monitoring on the teachers and students’ performance by the university’s educational system, students admission quantity adjustment, sex ratios and increase of the educational units can be helpful. Keywords: Clinical education, Physiotherapy students