How occupational therapy students and other allied health and healthcare science students are affected by the challenges of continuing training during a pandemic has been scarcely studied. Allied healthcare professionals are critical to service delivery during and following a pandemic and students have positively contributed to the workforce during the current and previous pandemics. Gaining insight into student’s experiences can inform educational and clinical institutions providing training to support and mitigate against any risks as students move into the workforce.
To explore the educational experiences of allied health and healthcare science students during the Covid-19 pandemic to support future educational and clinical management, preparedness for the workforce and response to future pandemics.
Working in pairs, six Yr3 students completed synchronous and asynchronous online training in online focus group facilitation. Participants were recruited via the university email system. Six focus groups (Yr1 participants=6; Yr2 participants=9; Yr3 participants=8), facilitated by the paired Yr3 students were completed via Blackboard Collaborate, Virtual Learning Environment. Two Yr3 students and one academic staff member analysed the interviews using thematic analysis.
Data analysis is ongoing. Initial emerging themes include access to and appropriate use of technology, communication, practice placement, facilitating social opportunities and continued face-to-face teaching during a pandemic.
Initial analysis highlights the need for adequate technological infrastructure, clear and continuing communication with students and facilitating continued face-to-face learning. Additional insights may emerge and identify further gaps and mitigations in order to ensure successful movement of students into the healthcare workforce.
- Healthcare students
- Allied Health Students