Clinical education: a critical analysis using soft systems methodology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Clinical education is an integral component of health-care professional education, providing an essential bridge between the academic and clinical environments. A soft systems methodology provided a conceptual framework for structuring an analysis of clinical education. The literature search encompassed all major databases and manual searching of key journals for health-care professions.

Content analysis identified key themes, which included the balance between theoretical and clinical components of a course, timing of placements, assessment, models of placement, the supervisory process and the role of the clinical educator, student and the university tutor.

The analysis identified a paucity of good quality research, with both theory–practice and literature–practice gaps in existence. The literature also highlighted the necessity for change, and the need to develop theory and research. The findings reflect that a structured approach to address the issues raised by clinical education at individual profession and interdisciplinary levels is perhaps required.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003