Reflective practice in physiotherapy curricula: a survey of UK university based professional practice coordinators

Med Teach. 2006 Feb;28(1):e32-9. doi: 10.1080/01421590600568512.


There has been recent increasing interest in reflective practice within physiotherapy education as a method for reducing the 'theory-practice gap' and as a means of articulating, exposing and developing knowledge embedded in practice. Several contrasting theories have been developed to explain the role, place, purpose and definition of reflection in learning and teaching; however, much of the research to date has relied on theoretical debate rather than high quality empirical evidence. The aim of this paper was therefore, to report how a group of United Kingdom (UK) based physiotherapy Professional Practice Coordinators (n = 33) with their unique insight into the concept from both the academic and clinical perspective viewed and interpreted the use of reflective practice within their physiotherapy curriculum. Consent for the study was obtained via the professional body (The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists) (CSP) and data was collected via postal questionnaire. Results indicated a diversity of experience in respondents both in terms of their role as Coordinator and their training in reflective practice. There was also no clear consensus regarding facilitative models or assessment methods even though the majority of coordinators believed that reflective practice should be considered to be a central component of physiotherapy teaching strategies. The results of this survey provide a focus for further empirical research into reflective practice as part of the physiotherapy curricula, while advancing the understanding of reflective practice from a broader perspective and clarifying the benefits to students, teachers, patients and practitioners.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Curriculum / statistics & numerical data*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / education*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinking*
  • United Kingdom