Facilitating awareness of philosophy of science, ethics and communication through manual skills training in undergraduate education.
Journal article, Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593985.2016.1277289
Background: Professional health science education includes a common theoretical basis concerning the theory of science, ethics and communication. Former evaluations by first-year students of the bachelor physiotherapy program at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) show that they find it hard to understand the relation between these particular topics and future professional practice. This challenge is the starting point for a pedagogical development project that aims to develop learning contexts that highlight the relevance of these theoretical concepts. Aim: The aim of the study is to explore and present findings on the value of using Sykegrep manual skills classes as an arena in which students can be encouraged to think about, reflect on and appreciate the role and value of the philosophical perspectives that inform their practice and contributes to practise knowledge. Method: A qualitative study with data collection through focus groups was performed and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Eighteen first-year undergraduate students, who had completed the manual skills course, participated in the study. Findings: Analysis of the data yielded three categories of findings that can be associated with aspects of philosophy of science, ethics and communication. These are as follows: 1) preconceived understanding of physiotherapy; 2) body knowledge perspectives; and 3) relational aspects of interactions. Undergraduate students’ understanding and experience of philosophy of science, ethics and communication may be facilitated by peer collaboration, reflection on intimacy and touch and the ethical aspects of interaction during manual skills training. Conclusion: Practical classes in Sykegrep provide a basis for students’ discussions about the body as well as their experiences with the body in the collaborative learning context. The students’ reflections on their expectations of manual skills in physiotherapy and experiences of touch and being touched can facilitate an awareness of philosophy of science, ethics and communication. Implications: Our study will be an incitement to further develop a manual skills teaching program that incorporates philosophy of science, ethics and communication in undergraduate education.