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Journal of Biomedical Education
Volume 2014, Article ID 578649, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/578649
Research Article

Proactive Student Engagement with Fitness to Practise

1Department of Physiotherapy, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
2HealthPEER, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Received 4 April 2014; Accepted 29 June 2014; Published 15 July 2014

Academic Editor: Chandrashekhar T. Sreeramareddy

Copyright © 2014 Kristin Lo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Fitness to practise (FTP) is fundamental to health professional education and health service delivery, impacting on both practitioner and client wellbeing. Literature exploring FTP support policies primarily identifies retrospective student support and management. This study describes student perceptions of an innovative FTP policy which supports students and staff to proactively identify FTP management strategies prior to entering the clinical environment. Forty-nine final year physiotherapy students were surveyed regarding their perceptions of self-declaring FTP. Ordinal data from Likert scales were reported using descriptive statistics. Thematic analysis was undertaken for open text responses. The response rate was 88%. Forty-two percent of students stated that they had experienced FTP concerns during the course. Concerns included physical and mental impairment and clinical competence issues. The majority of students (80%) indicated that they were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” in self-declaring FTP issues. Confidentiality, positive relationships with staff and a supportive environment enhanced likelihood of declaration. Eight students (19%) met with university staff to develop management strategies and all rated these meetings as “helpful” or “very helpful.” Students had positive perceptions of self-declaring their FTP to enable early development of management strategies. This strategy successfully navigates sensitive ethicolegal issues, empowering students to take responsibility for their own FTP.