Peer mentoring for clinical educators: A case study in physiotherapy
Keywords:clinical educators, peer mentoring, student experience, physiotherapy
Introduction: Providing placements for students within clinical and community contexts is an essential part of training future healthcare professionals. Placements enable students to understand and apply their theoretical knowledge in practice. Placement experiences are provided by clinical educators, who are qualified health professionals with little-to-no formal education in teaching. This paper is focused on a specific initiative for supporting these educators, a mentoring program for physiotherapy clinical educators.
Methods: The program design was research-informed and participant-led, an uncommon approach to initiatives in this context. The 10-month mentoring program included formal and informal meetings, either in person or online; face-to-face workshops; and case-based discussions. To evaluate the program, participating educators were surveyed during and at the conclusion of the program. After each placement, students were surveyed about their learning experience.
Results: The program resulted in better clinical placement experiences for educators and students. Students of educators who participated in the program felt that their educator spent more time with them, and they were more satisfied with the delivery, content and amount of feedback received from their educator. Clinical educators in the program reported that mentoring enhanced their ability to support learning and reflect on their role as teachers.
Conclusions: The importance of clinical education in the student learning experience provides an argument for supporting educators. This paper presents evidence that peer mentoring is a viable support strategy that demonstrates positive outcomes for educators and their students.
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