Practice educators' experiences of supervising two students on allied health practice based placements

Dawes, Joanna and Lambert, Paul (2010) Practice educators' experiences of supervising two students on allied health practice based placements. Journal of Allied Health, 39(1), pp. 20-27. ISSN (print) 0090-7421


Literature suggests that supervising two students together on clinical placement (2:1 model) has a place in practice-based education, helping to increase placement capacity, improve the learning experience for the students, and possibly improve departmental productivity. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of allied health professional practice educators in using the 2:1 model. METHODS: This qualitative study used an interpretive, phenomenological approach to data collection and interpretation. Thirteen educators with experience of practice education were recruited and either interviewed alone or involved in a focus group. Data were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using NVivo 7 computer-based software. RESULTS: The practice educators reported mixed views regarding the 2:1 model. Emergent themes suggested success of supervising two students may depend more on the attitude and philosophy of the practice educator than on the profession or clinical setting, that many practice educators had initially used the 2:1 model in response to a short notice request from the universities to accommodate more students, and that practice educators were unclear as to whether the 2:1 model affected their ability to get through their workload. DISCUSSION: The findings suggest that the unplanned nature of the 2:1 model's initial use may have tempered views on its success. Also, success of this model appears to depend more on the attitude and approach of the practice educator and the support from colleagues to manage students and other workplace duties than it did to profession or clinical setting.

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