This Programme Specification Has Integrated Professional and Statutory Requirements Into

This Programme Specification Has Integrated Professional and Statutory Requirements Into

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AWARD and ROUTE TITLE / BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy Practice Based Learning (PBL)
INTERMEDIATE AWARD TITLES / BSc Rehabilitation Assistant Practitioner
Diploma in Higher Education in Rehabilitation Assistant Practitioner
Certificate in Higher Educationin Rehabilitation Assistant Practitioner
Name of the Teaching Institution / Sheffield Hallam University
Mode(s) of Attendance
(e.g. FT/PT/SW/DL) / FT
Professional/Statutory/Regulatory Body Recognising this Programme / Health Professions Council
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
World Congress of Physical Therapy
QAA Subject Benchmark Statement or other relevant external reference point / QAA Physiotherapy Code of Practice
Date of Validation / 28th April 2010

This Programme Specification has integrated professional and statutory requirements into the learning outcomes, drawing on the following documents:

  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (2002) Curriculum Framework for Qualifying Programmes in Physiotherapy. CSP, London
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (2005) Standards of Physiotherapy Practice. CSP, London
  • Health Professions Council (2008) Standards of Education and Training. Health Professions Council, London.
  • Health Professions Council (2007) Standards of Proficiency – Physiotherapists. Health Professions Council, London
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004) Code of Practice for the Assurance of Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Education: Placement Learning. QAA, Gloucester
  • Skills for Health NHS KSF Competence Mapping, web
  • World Congress of Physical Therapists (2007) Guidelines for Physical Therapist Professional Entry Level Education, World Congress of Physical Therapists, London


On successful completion of the programme (level 6), you will be:

1.1.At the level of competence required to meet UK professional standards and Health Professions Council (HPC) Standards of proficiency for physiotherapists

1.2.Able to work safely and effectively in diverse and evolving health and social care contexts whilst aware of personal and professional limitations.

1.3.A critical and reflective practitioner, committed to lifelong learning, research and evidence based practice.

1.4.A skilled communicator, able to work dynamically with service users and other practitioners from diverse backgrounds to promote optimum client health awareness and well being.

1.5.Fully aware of ethical, legal and moral issues affecting practice, and able to accommodate diversity, demonstrate cultural competence and promote anti-oppressive practice.


2.1Knowledge and understanding covered within the programme. By the end of the programme you will be able to:

2.1.1Explain and apply key concepts of behavioural sciences relevant to physiotherapy, including psycho-social influences on health and well being, cultural diversity, experiences of illness, impairment and disability, and therapeutic relationships.

2.1.2Apply the concept of physical rehabilitation in the context of person centred care.

2.1.3Apply principles of biomedical sciences relevant for physiotherapy, including anatomy, physiology, human development, pathology, and biomechanics.

2.1.4Explain and critically evaluate the theories that underpin the holistic approach to rehabilitation and the physiotherapeutic management of your clients.

2.1.5Design, implement and critically evaluate a health promotion approach to rehabilitation, physiotherapy and health care to facilitate the promotion of health.

2.1.6Critically discuss the relevant aspects of the changing contexts of health and social care practice, in the light of local, national and international social policy with reference to public health, demonstrating understanding of the role of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies and legislative frameworks.

2.1.7 Apply and evaluate principles of team working and group dynamics within a health and social care context and critically discuss effective multi-professional team structures and collaborative practice.

2.1.8Apply and reflect upon your relevant interpersonal skills needed to empower your client, and to enable them to control and/or self-manage their condition/problem.

2.2 Intellectual skills covered within the programme: by the end of the programme you will be able to:

2.2.1 Critically reflect on your values, attitudes and skills and the impact these may have on your professional development in the context of service user centred care and services.

2.2.2Identify, analyse, and review situations, solve complex clinical problems, appraise complex needs of clients and make informed judgements, supported and justified by theoretical arguments, empirical evidence and personal experience.

2.2.3Critically analyse and evaluate research and other evidence that informs your decisions, and health and social care practice in general.

2.2.4.Contribute to case management decisions and team work in diverse and at times unpredictable situations in evolving health and social care contexts.

2.2.5 Evaluate and discuss the potential or actual impact of your clinical decisions and actions, on the overall performance of the Service and the client's rehabilitation.

2.3.6 Formulate a pertinent clinical question, search, and interpret the relevant literature to inform specific clinical questions/problems to inform your decision making.

2.3 Professional skills covered within the programme: by the end of the programme you will be able to:

2.3.1.Undertake a safe and effective assessment, and access, collect, analyse and interpret relevant information in order to identify the clients' problems that can be addressed by your therapeutical intervention.

2.3.2.Assess and evaluate service users' needs and potential benefit from physiotherapy so as to formulate a flexible management plan which will involve the service user and may involve other professional input.

2.3.3.Implement and evaluate a safe and appropriate physiotherapy treatment/management plan, which is focused of attaining mutually agreed and realistic objectives.

2.3.4. Work in partnership with people and their carers, through co-operative decision making and goal-setting, to manage a broad range of conditions relating to human movement and function.

2.3.5.Incorporate relevant evaluation procedures within the management plan so as to monitor effectiveness and enhance progress.

2.3.6.Maintain appropriate and legally valid documentation relating to assessment and management if individual patients.

2.3.7. Consistently demonstrate professional and ethical behaviour within the spectrum of the employment environment in accordance with rules of profession conduct and standards.

2.3.8.Engage with, or undertake research that adds to the evidence base of physiotherapy practice.

2.3.9Communicate and cooperate effectively with other members of health and social care teams, so as to deliver high quality client focused care.

2.3.10Create, develop and sustain therapeutic relationships with service users that are emotionally and socially appropriate and helpful.

2.4 Key skills covered within the programme: by the end of the programme you will be able to:

2.4.1 Critically evaluate new knowledge, concepts and evidence from a range of sources.

2.4.2.Read academic texts critically so as to identify the salient points and arguments, and represent these appropriately.

2.4.3.Communicate, support and motivate effectively through a variety of media, engaging in creative debate and providing others with constructive feedback.

2.4.4.Take responsibility for your personal and professional development, responding to and making use of feedback.

2.4.5.Work effectively as part of a productive group, able to take a range of roles as required.

2.4.6.Retrieve and organise information in a systematic way, presenting data and evidence in an appropriate format for a variety of audiences.

2.4.7.Manage, organise and prioritise your workload and time (and that of others such as PTAs and TIs, when appropriate). Understand the issues involved in delegation and working with Physiotherapy Assistants and Technical Instructors.

2.4.8Present written work in specified formats using appropriate academic styles and standardised referencing of texts and web-based materials.

2.4.9.Use Information and Communication Technology effectively to communicate with others, to understand the rationale and method of searching for information, to analyse data and present synthesised written, numeric and visual information effectively.


The approach to learning, teaching and assessment throughout the programme is based firmly on the principles set out in the University’s Assessment and Feedback Policy (2008) and the Learning and Teaching Strategy (2006). The aim of the Strategy is to ‘foster collaboration between students and staff to ensure that successful learning takes place in a diverse and vibrant learning community'. This is achieved by a focus upon the following three themes:

  • Theme 1: to be forward thinking in the design of the programme in supporting life long learning and anticipating and responding to changes in demand and need, providing vibrant and challenging learning opportunities
  • Theme 2: to enhance your learning experience, making assessment activities, support and feedback a powerful integrated feature of learning
  • Theme 3: to introduce a comprehensive professional development framework that improves practice and promotes excellence in learning, teaching and assessment.

The philosophy of the course is facilitate learning for practice and learning through practice to provide you with a student experience that is grounded in clinical experience. You will be involved from the start in the work place as a site of learning. This practice based approach allows you to directly link learning to and with the practical role and forms an essential link between classrooms based learning and the practice setting, enabling you to progressively apply knowledge and understanding to personal clinical practice.

Through practice based learning, academic and practice based elements are more fully integrated due to the structure of the course. For the majority of the course the practice elements and the academic delivery run in parallel allowing assimilation of practical and theoretical concepts.

Assessment and feedback in the programme is designed to:

  • engage you in learning
  • facilitate the development of self-assessment and also inform programme development
  • ensure that you are fit for practice in accordance with HPC Standards of Education and Training
  • Enable students with disabilities to meet those standards.

One aspect of the philosophy of the programme is to prepare you to work with a diverse range of patients in a varied range of health care settings by creating a learning environment and offering learning opportunities that:

  • Engage you as an active learner taking responsibility for your own learning, and your personal development towards life long learning.
  • assist you to operate as a supported independent learner, a critically reflective, creative and flexible practitioner with effective problem solving abilities
  • enable staff to work with you in face to face and / or electronic learning activities to provide effective academic and pastoral support

3.1The approach to learning and teaching within the programme

The approach to learning and teaching within this programme is one that reflects adult learning principles. It places you, the student, at the centre of the learning process and expects you to take increasing responsibility for your learning as the programme progresses. To support this, the hours allocated to tutor input in modules decreases as the programme progresses. The programme also provides opportunities for you to develop teamwork skills as well as skills for autonomous professional practice.

Learning experiences are designed to establish a framework of lifelong learning. The principle of lifelong learning requires that you will systematically acquire the skills required for you to learn independently. A vibrant, challenging and supportive learning environment has been designed by the programme team in collaboration with stakeholders such as the practitioner lecturers, managers, clinical educators, students and service users. The approach to learning and teaching is based on a number of key principles outlined in sections 3.1.1 to 3.1.9 below.

3.1.1The Design of Learning Experiences

Academic and clinical education modules are fully integrated, encouraging the application of theory to practice during practice learning, and the use of practice experiences to inform academic modules. Clinical education occurs in each level of the programme. During this time you will be under the supervision of a clinical educator and will learn to work with support and ultimately independently to apply your developing knowledge and skills. Some academic modules are introduced prior to practice learning and completed afterwards. Others run in parallel with the clinical education to enable you to actively link the theory and practice and enter into open discussion in either setting. You are expected to use the clinical environment to explore pertinent issues and then to draw on this learning on your return to academic work. The clinical education modules are critically important to the extent that you will be expected to have passed them at each level of the programme before progressing to the next level.

Your classroom learning will take the form of modules designed to focus on specific aspects of knowledge and skills and their application to physiotherapy and health care practice. Each module will be directed towards helping you to achieve a specific set of learning outcomes. In order to help you complete the programme successfully you will experience a ‘blended learning’ approach. This means your learning will take place in a range of learning environments using a variety of media and types of learning activities that combines traditional classroom learning with learning in a ‘virtual’ environment via the university's Blackboard VLE. Modules are designed and timed to help you integrate and complement your learning from other modules and to prepare you for and reflect upon your clinical education. For each 10 credits of study 100 hours of learning are planned. These 100 hours will be made up of tutor-led, tutor-directed and student-directed learning activities.

3.1.2Tutor-led, tutor-directed and student-directed learning

The tutors on the PBL programme are experienced expert clinicians and specialists in their field who have taken on the education role with support from SHU. They have studied an education based module to prepare them to deliver the programme. Their role is referred to as Practitioner Lecturer (PL). In addition staff from the SHU physiotherapy team work with the PLs to support and ensure their development.

They will encourage and expect you to take an ‘active’ approach to your learning. This will involve your active involvement in strategies which are aimed at maximising opportunities for both interaction (for example, group work, collaborative case studies; problem based learning and small project management) and individual study. Learning to try and pass examinations without real engagement with the materials (surface learning or strategic learning) tends to be an ineffective learning strategy. The emphasis will therefore be on 'deep learning', in order to ensure that you will develop the professional skills, autonomy, knowledge, understanding and critically reflective approach which is essential to modern day health care and physiotherapy practice. This is achieved by integration of academic and practice based modules to promote the application of theory to practice during clinical education learning, and vice versa with the use of clinical experiences to inform academic modules. Having modules run alongside each other assists the philosophy of the programme by allowing you to learn through work and in work.

This mixed mode of learning and teaching delivery facilitates your development of an inquisitive approach to your learning, engagement with the theory and application of this to practice and reflection upon your own practice and learning.

PL/Tutor-led sessions will include a range of learning activities such as interactive lectures, seminars, demonstration and teaching of clinical skills and workshop sessions. These sessions will mainly comprise 'active' learning requiring your participation in order to ensure that you are fully engaged with the learning process. This face to face contact will be supported by tutor-directed learning which you will undertake individually or in small groups in order to consolidate your learning. These learning activities may be e-enabled using ‘Blackboard’ (the SHU Virtual Learning Environment) or one of a range dedicated software packages or through the use of module workbooks. Active learning will be fostered through activities undertaken in seminars and workshops where you are encouraged to share ideas and develop new thinking and approaches. Independent, student-directed learning consists of assessment activity and work undertaken to consolidate your learning. For example, in order to develop your manual clinical skills, you will take part in student directed and student led practice and review sessions of the clinical skills you are learning. You will be learning with and from others in your peer group, wherever possible drawing and reflecting on personal experiences, skills and knowledge in order to promote discussion and activities that will enhance your learning and that of the group as a whole.

You will need to develop and maintain your Personal and Professional Development Portfolio (PPDP) using Pebble PAD, the e-portfolio system of your professional body, both whilst at University and during Clinical Education periods. Through engaging actively with these independent forms of learning you will develop your self-assessment and self-management skills, autonomy as a learner and skills of project management. These will equip you with skills for ongoing lifelong learning essential to employment and professional practice after graduation.You will be encouraged to write a concise reflective learning logs throughout the course. These would form an essential part of your PPDP and they should reflect essential aspects of your learning from classroom, clinical placement and self-directed learning activities.

3.1.3Clinical Education (also see Appendix 3)

Learning in the clinical environment is an integral element of your programme and your reflection and learning from this will form a major aspect of your PPDP via the use of Pebble PAD.

Periods of clinical education are built into the programme to enable you to transfer and develop the theory and skills learnt in University-based modules to the clinical situation and vice versa. An essential part of this clinical time is your ability to demonstrate your competence in order to treat patients effectively. You will demonstrate competence and capability in transferring the theories and skills learnt in university based modules directly into the clinical environment. This will form part of your assessment. You will be expected to reflect on and use your learning in the clinical environment to support and enhance your university learning. Clinical practice is also part of level 4 where you will engage with the clinical environment and begin to explore some of the relevant aspects of the organisation that impact upon your role and practice. You will use these experiences to begin to develop your PPDP which you will be expected to develop and maintain during further periods of Clinical Education at level 5 (year 2) and level 6 (year 3). Your clinical education experience will enable you to apply, develop and gain essential skills in all aspects of physiotherapy practice under the guidance of a clinical educator who will help to guide and direct your learning. During the clinical placements you will also have the opportunity to explore the essential aspects of team working and inter-professional collaborative working. These skills will be assessed and form an integral part of your professional development during the programme and beyond.