Productivity and time use during occupational therapy and nutrition/dietetics clinical education : a cohort study

Rodger, Sylvia, Martin, Elizabeth, Clark, Michele J., Ash, Susan, Hurst, Cameron P., & Graves, Nicholas (2012) Productivity and time use during occupational therapy and nutrition/dietetics clinical education : a cohort study. PLOS One, 7(8), e44356.

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Currently in the Australian higher education sector higher productivity from allied health clinical education placements are a contested issue. This paper will report results of a study that investigated output changes associated with occupational therapy and nutrition/dietetics clinical education placements in Queensland, Australia. Supervisors’ and students’ time use during placements and how this changes for supervisors compared to when students are not present in the workplace is also presented.

Methodology/Principal Findings:

A cohort design was used with students from four Queensland universities, and their supervisors employed by Queensland Health. There was an increasing trend in the number of occasions of service delivered when the students were present, and a statistically significant increase in the daily mean length of occasions of service delivered during the placement compared to pre-placement levels. For project-based placements that were not directly involved in patient care, supervisors’ project activity time decreased during placements, with students undertaking considerably more time in project activities.


A novel method for estimating productivity and time use changes during clinical education programs for allied health disciplines has been applied. During clinical education placements there was a net increase in outputs, suggesting supervisors engage in longer consultations with patients for the purpose of training students, while maintaining patient numbers. Other activities are reduced. This paper is the first time these data have been shown and form a good basis for future assessments of the economic impact of student placements for allied health disciplines.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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70 since deposited on 11 Dec 2012
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ID Code: 55464
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Originally, this article was published under Elizabeth Stephens's name.
Keywords: student placement, HERN, professional education, organisational efficiency, productivity
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044356
ISSN: 1932-6203
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OTHER MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (119900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Health Economics (140208)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Rodger et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Deposited On: 11 Dec 2012 02:09
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2015 13:11

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