Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O): Education For Development of Professional Competencies: Students’ Experiences and Reflections

Nora Kathleen Orsi Riggs

Purpose: To explore prosthetics and orthotics (P&O) students’ early experiences of simultaneous enrolment in an MSc in Rehabilitation and a P&O clinical diploma.

Methods: A purposeful sample of nine students participated in a single on-line synchronous focus group. Thematic analysis was applied to the verbatim transcripts.

Findings: Five themes were identified: complementary programs, knowledge, abilities and attitudes, research, professionalism, challenges and enjoyment. Findings indicate the two programs were complementary in the development of professional competencies with emphases on evidence based practice, inter-professional collaboration and client-centred care. While students recognized the benefits of the program, challenges. of time, isolation, workload and desire for increased practical over theory were identified.

Conclusion: Students valued the concurrent diploma and master’s program experience. Practical connections between theory and curriculum may provide the greatest opportunity for integration of theory and the facilitation of long-term behavioural changes in P&O.