Experiences of telehealth e-mentoring within postgraduate musculoskeletal physical therapy education in the UK and Canada: a protocol for parallel mixed-methods studies and cross-cultural comparison

Nicola R Heneghan, Madeleine Nazareth, Wendy J Johnson, Isaak Tyros, Jackie Sadi, Heather Gillis, Alison B Rushton

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Mentored clinical practice is central to demonstrating achievement of International Educational Standards in advanced musculoskeletal physical therapy. While traditionally delivered face-to-face, telehealth e-mentoring is a novel alternative to offering this unique pedagogy to facilitate mentee critical reflection, deeper learning and enhanced knowledge translation to optimise patient care. With COVID-19 resulting in widespread adoption of telehealth and access to mentors often limited by geography or cost, the potential value of telehealth e-mentoring needs investigating. To investigate the experiences and outcomes of multiple stakeholders (student mentees, mentors and patients) engaged in musculoskeletal physical therapy telehealth e-mentoring across two universities (UK and Canada).

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Using case study design, we will use sequential mixed methods involving qualitative and quantitative components based on existing evidence. To examine the influence of telehealth e-mentoring on health outcomes in patients with musculoskeletal complaints, we will use patient-reported outcomes for satisfaction, patient empowerment and change in musculoskeletal health. We will conduct semistructured interviews to explore the development of critical thinking, clinical reasoning, communication skills and confidence of students engaged in telehealth e-mentoring. To explore the mentor acceptability and appropriateness of telehealth e-mentoring, we will conduct a focus group in each site. Finally, we will include a focus group of participants from each site to allow a cross-cultural comparison of findings to inform international stakeholders. Quantitative data will be analysed using descriptive statistics (median and IQR) to describe changes in outcome data and qualitative data will be analysed following the Framework Method.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has ethical approval from both institutions: the University of Birmingham (ERN_20-0695) and Western University (2020-116233-47832). Findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and disseminated to key stakeholders in musculoskeletal physical therapy education and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042602
JournalBMJ open
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Canada
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Humans
  • Mentoring
  • Mentors
  • Physical Therapy Specialty/education
  • Research Design
  • Telemedicine
  • United Kingdom

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