Are MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy students likely to promote parkrun as a social form of physical activity? A pilot study.

Button, Faye, Clifford, Ross and George, Thomas (2020) Are MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy students likely to promote parkrun as a social form of physical activity? A pilot study. In: Virtual Physiotherapy UK, 13th-14th Novemeber 2020, Virtual.

Are MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy students likely to promote parkrun as a social form of physical activity? A pilot study.
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Next-generation physiotherapists offer the potential to improve health and prevent non-communicable illness through the promotion of physical activity. The aim of this pilot study was to determine MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy student’s experiences and perceptions of social prescribing and promoting specific community-based physical activity initiatives. Specifically, whether these students would ‘prescribe’ parkrun as a social form of physical activity.

An online Qualtrics survey was used to capture a cohort of physiotherapy students’ understanding and experience of parkrun, promoting physical activity, and social prescribing relative to their academic and practice-based physiotherapy training. Ethical approval was granted from the University of Lincoln – Lincoln Ethical Application System (LEAS) LEAS Code 2019-1061. A cohort of 18 second year MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy students from one UK University were invited to complete the online survey. Quantitative descriptive analysis of the nominal data was performed.

50% response rate (n=9) to the pilot study. All participants stated that recommending physical activity is part of a physiotherapist’s role, and all participants felt that social prescribing is part of a physiotherapist role. All respondents had heard of parkrun, with 44% (n=4) of respondents having participated in parkrun previously. Despite an overall positive feeling after taking part, only 22% (n=2) said they had recommended parkrun to their patients whilst on a practice placement as part of their pre-registration physiotherapy training. When asked whether they would recommend parkrun as a social form of physical activity all (n=9) respondents answered that they would.

Despite all students identifying parkrun as a social form of physical activity that they would recommend to patients as part of their professional role, only a minority of students had previously recommended parkrun whilst on practice placement. This discrepancy may reflect the reduced experience of social prescribing in the university and practice placement setting.

The results of this study suggest that UK pre-registration Physiotherapy students perceive the promotion of physical activity and social prescribing as part of their professional role. However, their experience of signposting to social forms of physical activity, like parkrun, for health and wellbeing are limited. Further research should focus on the readiness and experience of larger cohorts and explore the curriculum content of pre-registration physiotherapy training in the UK.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science ‘College Teaching Innovation Fund’.

Clifford, R. (2018) Promoting physical activity for health. A survey of knowledge, confidence and role-perception in final-year UK physiotherapy students. Physiotherapy Practice and Research, 39 (1). 53-62.
Lowe, A., Littlewood, C., McLean, S., and Kilner, K. (2017) Physiotherapy and physical activity: a cross-sectional survey exploring physical activity promotion, knowledge of physical activity guidelines and the physical activity habits of UK physiotherapists. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 3(1).
Reece, L.J., Quirk, H., Wellington, C., Haake, S.J. and Wilson, F. (2018) Bright Spots, physical activity investments that work: Parkrun; a global initiative striving for healthier and happier communities. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(6), 326-327.
World Health Organization (2018). Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world. Geneva: World Health Organization. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Keywords:Physiotherapy, parkrun, Physical Activity, Social Prescribing, Health, Wellbeing, Students
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B160 Physiotherapy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:43042
Deposited On:15 Dec 2020 09:53

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