A Health Enhancement Programme for physiotherapy students: a mixed methods pilot study

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Health professional students have a high incidence of fitness to practise issues, including stress and may need strategies to support their wellbeing. The 331 first year Bachelor of Physiotherapy students enrolled in our programme between 2009 and 2013 undertook a 3-4 week wellness programme. They completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Fantastic Lifestyle Assessment questionnaire and the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Brief (WHOQOL-BREF) scale before and after the programme.Thematic analysis was used to interpret qualitative data. A non-clinically significant increase in the PSS coincided with increased assessment load during the semester which is a potential confounding variable thus randomised controlled trials taking this into account are indicated. Increases in the Fantastic Lifestyle Assessment across the 4-week programme indicated a healthier lifestyle had been adopted. Participants enjoyed the mindfulness (being aware of the present moment) activities, resources, sharing of discussion,content on healthy behaviours and goal setting. Practical activities in tutorials, and the lecturer and tutorial staff were viewed positively. There were a number of suggested changes to the programme content. To our knowledge this is the first documented wellness programme for physiotherapy students. A number of quantitative studies exist regarding health professional wellness courses, but minimal qualitative data exist. This article aims to address this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

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