Clinical Placements

clinical education

Clinical placements, in which students receive instruction and supervision from practicing physical therapists in a variety of clinical environments, are an important part of the learning experience for students in the MPT program. These placements provide opportunities for students to put into practice the theory and clinical skills learned in classrooms and laboratories.

The clinical experience/placement aspect of the Western MPT program includes five clinical experiences, each six weeks in length, for a total of 30 weeks of practical clinical education within health care facilities in southwestern Ontario.

Placement Details

Western MPT students complete five clinical placements over the course of the two-year program.

Placement Course # Level of Student Year of Program Time Period Length (wks)
1 PT 9581 Junior 1 June – mid July 6
2 PT 9582 Junior Intermediate 2 Mid Nov – Dec 6
3 PT9583 Intermediate 2 Mid March – April 6
4 PT 9584 Intermediate Senior 2 Mid April – May 6
5 PT 9585 Senior 2 Mid July – Aug 6

Students are expected to graduate with a mix of clinical placement experiences assessing and treating a diverse population of individuals and conditions. Placements are completed, and experience is gained, in a variety of settings across four areas of practice while working with individuals throughout the lifespan.

Settings

Students practice in the following clinical placement settings:

  • Acute care/hospital
  • Rehabilitation/long-term care/pediatrics
  • Ambulatory care clinics (out-patient clinics)
  • Community/home care (when available; not required for graduation)

Area of Practice

Students gain experience in the following areas of practice:

  • Cardiovascular and respiratory (CR)
  • Neurological (Neuro)
  • Musculoskeletal (MSK)
  • Multisystem conditions

Lifespan

Students work with individuals across the lifespan:

  • Children (< 17 years)
  • Adults (18 – 64 years)
  • Seniors (> 65 years)

Placement Sites

map of swoThe MPT program collaborates with more than 125 clinical facilities in southwestern Ontario to offer placement experiences to MPT students. Placements are arranged within the Western catchment area (highlighted in purple), which extends from Windsor in the southwest to Owen Sound in the north, and to Kitchener/Cambridge in the east.

Students are required to complete placements, as arranged and assigned by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE), at any of the affiliated health care facilities within southwestern Ontario. Given Western’s catchment area, all students will be required to relocate for at least two (or more) placements. Examples include students relocating to Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham or Owen Sound for the six-week period. Southwestern Ontario consists of a mix of rural communities, small towns and larger cities. Students must be prepared to relocate to any of these communities in order to complete their clinical placements and meet graduation requirements.

Placements Outside of Western’s Catchment Area

Within Canada

Western MPT students may have the opportunity to complete placements in another part of Canada, within the catchment area of another university. These opportunities are not guaranteed and depend on placement availability within that school’s catchment area. Increased enrollment in PT programs in schools across Canada, means that out-of-catchment placements are increasingly difficult to acquire. Students are not permitted to complete more than one placement in a given out-of-catchment area. For example, two placements cannot be completed in McMaster’s catchment area. All clinical placements are arranged by the ACCE. Students are not permitted to contact sites to arrange placements.

International

Western MPT students may also have the opportunity to complete a placement at an international site. These opportunities are not guaranteed and vary from year to year. In the past MPT students have completed international placements in Australia, South Africa and England.

Associated Costs and Funding

Students are responsible for all costs incurred related to the completion of the required clinical placements. Completing placements outside of London might be associated with additional costs (such as temporary housing rental, travel to/from London, parking, etc). Access to a vehicle during clinical placements is beneficial, but not necessary.

Additional funding may be available through funds provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), and is subject to change. Additional funding is occasionally available through the Leslie A. Bisbee Clinical Experience Bursary and the Global Opportunities Award.

Placement Requirements

Medical Requirements

During clinical placements, students in the MPT program may be required to care for persons with infectious diseases (including but not limited to Hepatitis, TB, HIV, AIDS). Therefore, students must meet the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act (2014) policies and guidelines for the protection of workers in addition to requirements specified by each affiliated health care facility. All requirements are for the students’ and patients’ protection and must be completed prior to each clinical placement.

Evaluation Requirements

All clinical placements have an assigned course number and are graded on a pass/fail basis. Each student’s clinical performance is evaluated by the clinical instructor at the midterm and final evaluation using the Canadian Physical Therapy Assessment of Clinical Performance (ACP). Each clinical placement must be successfully completed in order to progress to the next clinical block in the program.

Graduation Requirements

To meet graduation requirements, students must complete a minimum of 1025 clinical hours and obtain entry-level in the following PT essential competencies:

  • Expert (assessment, analysis, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, discharge planning)
  • Communicator
  • Collaborator
  • Manager
  • Advocate
  • Scholarly Practitioner
  • Professional

Students must also acquire more than 125 hours in each setting, 100 hours in each area of practice and 225 hours each working with adults and a combination of children and seniors.