🥇Uniservitate Award 2022 winning experience

SUMMARY

Significant and community-based learning process in the integrated final project of community-based professional practice for the Physiotherapy degree.

Within the scope of action of the University of San Jorge, numerous non-profit organisations are dealing with the needs that physiotherapy can address. Thanks to the service-learning programme of the Physiotherapy Degree, it has been possible to develop specific projects with the beneficiaries and workers of these organisations to solve health problems and encourage future professionals to engage in active, experiential and social learning.

Physiotherapy undergraduates at San Jorge University must complete the Final Degree Project to get their professional degree. It is planned as the development and defence of collaborative scientific work with a social purpose, enabling students to integrate the contents, competencies and skills acquired during their training courses as physiotherapists while providing a service to a specific health group or organisation in the autonomous community of Aragon. 

In the Final Degree Project in Physiotherapy, the service-learning activities need to fulfil the following steps: identification of the specific health needs of the selected groups or patients from non-profit organisations, NGOs or others; connection with the learning contents to plan and carry out Physiotherapy projects, and evaluation-reflection by all project participants, focusing on the critical reflection of the students, as well as the beneficiaries’ satisfaction and perception of the experience.

The students conducted an extensive bibliographic search on the pathology, physiopathology and educational and therapeutic interventions regarding the physiotherapy of the groups they would work with to provide the scientific basis for their projects. Subsequently, these programmes were implemented with the professors’ recommendations —physiotherapy intervention programmes, therapeutic exercise programmes, awareness-raising, sensitisation and therapeutic patient education programmes— while carrying out a specific evaluation for all the participants involved. Finally, there were different proposals to publish and communicate the results of the final projects in physiotherapy.

Between 2016 and 2021, thirty-three physiotherapy undergraduates participated in carrying out their end-of-degree professional internships during one semester and voluntarily. They attended to 2,307 patients with direct and preventive care activities based on the physiotherapy perspective. They carried out information, healthcare promotion and disease prevention campaigns and practised physiotherapy exercises appropriate to different pathologies in non-profit organisations in the Aragon community.

As far as the practices with patients, volunteers and health workers are concerned, the physiotherapy students contact public or private, non-profit associations linked to patients, relatives or researchers of different pathologies such as lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome or cystic fibrosis. These practices also included amputee patients or with agenesis, paralympic athletes, and patients with Gaucher diseases, neuromuscular disorders, lymphoedema, motor disability, haemophilia and Parkinson’s among others.

As a result of these community-based internships, the undergraduates improve their professional skills thanks to the application of specific academic and scientific knowledge linked to the pathologies of their patients. They also enhance their skills by developing their civic and social values, which they record in a reflective journal.

The beneficiaries of the projects acquire skills to deal with their illness from the physiotherapy and health care perspective, gaining knowledge of their disease and what they need to prevent, identify and act against problems derived from their pathology, thereby favouring their autonomy. 

DATA SHEET

  • Name: Beyond Physiotherapy: active teaching by developing service-learning projects

  • Region: Western Europe South

  • Country: Spain

  • University: University of San Jorge (Spain)

  • Area or School involved: Course: Final Degree Project. Bachelor’s Degree in Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences

  • Theme: Health and Wellbeing

  • Place of implementation: Physiotherapy field of non-profit organisations in Zaragoza, Spain.

  • Responsible for the experience: Carolina Jiménez Sánchez, Raquel Lafuente Ureta and Daniel Jiménez Sánchez

PLACE OF IMPLEMENTATION