Purpose: To explore the experiences of the students and clinical educator participating in a 3:1 collaborative placement. This study was conducted due to the increasing needs for physiotherapy student placements in British Columbia.
Methods: Three senior students and one clinical educator participated in this qualitative ethnographical study. Multiple methods, including fieldwork observations, journal reflections and in-depth interviews were analyzed using a foundational thematic approach.
Findings: Building trust amongst the clinical educator and students, maintaining a flexible approach and utilizing supplementary resources emerged as key themes essential to this placement. Trust built confidence and independence. Sharing the clinical educator’s time required flexibility, adaptability and increased resourcefulness of all participants. Important factors to consider when planning a collaborative placement were highlighted.
Conclusion: Increasing the use of 3:1 collaborative placements can be successful and may ease placement shortages. Replicating the study at smaller clinical sites and within different practice areas is recommended.