An Innovative Program to Support Internationally Educated Health Professionals and Their Instructors: Role of the Clinical Practice Facilitator

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Abstract

Introduction:

Internationally educated health professionals immigrating to other countries may experience difficulty in clinical practice, due to linguistic and cultural factors. An important element of bridging is the opportunity for internationally educated health professionals to practice in a clinical environment. To support these health professionals and their clinical instructors, a Clinical Practice Facilitator (CPF) role was created. This study aimed to examine the CPF from internationally educated health professionals and clinical instructors' perspective.

Methods:

A quantitative survey was conducted with two cohorts (2013 and 2015) of internationally educated physical therapists and clinical instructors who were asked about the nature of interaction with CPFs, mentor, and education roles and the benefits and challenges of the role.

Results:

Thirty-five internationally educated physical therapists and 37 clinical instructors participated and were satisfied with the interaction with CPFs via face-to-face or e-mail communication. There was strong agreement (>80%) that the CPF educator role was to facilitate learner's reflection on clinical practice while the mentor role (>70%) was to answer questions, provide feedback, and investigate clinical concerns and conflicts. There was insufficient time for access to CPFs and resolution of learners' learning needs. There were differences (P = 0.04) in perspective on the benefit of the CPF in assisting with cultural differences.

Discussion:

An innovative CPF role provided support encouragement, clinical, and professional advice. There were discordant views regarding the benefits of the CPF role in addressing cultural issues, which requires further examination.

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