Physiotherapy students’ pre-clinical stress prior to an outpatient placement - triggers and remedies

Rebecca Lee, Dragana Ceprnja, Mahbub Sarkar

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Physiotherapy students frequently report stress prior to an outpatient clinical placement. As stress can have a negative impact on student’s ability to learn and maximise the value of their clinical experience, exploring the factors related to their pre-clinical stress in the outpatient setting would seems important.
This paper explored physiotherapy students’ perceptions of the factors related to pre-clinical stress prior to a musculoskeletal outpatient placement, and possible mitigation strategies.
Focus groups with 3rd and final year physiotherapy students undertaking musculoskeletal outpatient clinical placement were used to collect qualitative data. A visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to measure students’ perceived stress prior to the outpatient placement.
There was generally an increase in perceived pre-clinical stress among students. Students viewed outpatients as a complex area that challenges their preparedness for practice as a physiotherapist.
Negotiating a new workplace and aligned environmental stresses were also viewed as contributing factors to induce uncertainty and further pre-clinical stress. Adequate information about, and preparation for, the outpatient settings seem valuable to mitigate the pre-clinical stress.
Pre-clinical stress related to a musculoskeletal outpatient placement for physiotherapy students and appears to be multi-faceted in its origin.
Much of the pre-clinical stress felt by students prior to an outpatient clinical placement relates to the need to assume a more responsible and independent role as a clinician.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAustralian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference 2019 - National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 1 Jul 20194 Jul 2019


ConferenceAustralian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleANZAHPE 2019
OtherTheme: Blue Sky Thinking

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