Examining international clinical internships for canadian physical therapy students from 1997 to 2007.
PURPOSE: To describe international clinical internships (ICIs) for Canadian physical therapy (PT) students, explore the experiences of individuals involved in ICIs, and develop recommendations for future ICIs based on these findings. METHODS: This study employed a mixed-methods approach. An online questionnaire surveyed academic coordinators of clinical education (ACCEs, n=14) on the availability, destinations, and number of ICIs from 1997 to 2007. Semi-structured telephone interviews were then conducted with eight PT students, seven ACCEs, and three supervising clinicians to investigate their ICI experiences. Interview transcripts were coded descriptively and thematically using NVivo. RESULTS: ICIs are currently available at 12 of 14 Canadian PT schools. A total of 313 students participated in ICIs in 51 different destination countries from 1997 to 2007. Over this period, increasing numbers of students participated in ICIs and developing countries represented an increasing proportion of ICI destinations. Key themes identified in the interviews were opportunities, challenges, and facilitating factors. CONCLUSIONS: ICIs present unique opportunities for Canadian PT students. Recommendations to enhance the quality of future ICIs are (1) clearly defined objectives for ICIs, (2) additional follow-up post-ICI, and (3) improved record keeping and sharing of information on ICI destination countries and host sites.
Crawford, E; Biggar, JM; Leggett, A; Huang, A; Mori, B; Nixon, SA; Landry, MD
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