EXERSCI 751 : Physiotherapy Practicum 1


2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Students will undertake supervised practice in a clinical setting. This is the first of 5 clinical practicums across different physiotherapy settings. Students will complete supervised practice for 25 days over a 5-week block following a compulsory 5-day pre-clinical programme. Students will develop competencies in assessment of clients' problems, analysis of findings, goal setting and implementation and evaluation of interventions.

Course Overview

This course comprises 200 hours of supervised clinical practice undertaken in a hospital, private practice or community setting and sits within one of the three following areas: acute care; rehabilitation; or primary care. Students are required to integrate foundation biomedical and behavioural knowledge, physical and technical skills, and the applied skills of evidence based practice to allow the development of entry-level physiotherapy competencies. Students are required to demonstrate developing competence in specific clinical skills required for the placement as well as the generic skills and attributes of registered physiotherapists, e.g. professionalism and communication. Further, students will develop competencies in assessment of clients' problems, analysis of findings, goal setting and implementation and evaluation of interventions.
The course promotes the understanding of appropriate professional ethical and social attitudes, interprofessional roles and facilitates the development of effective and appropriate communication. There is an emphasis on the rehabilitation of patients, across the lifespan, presenting with a variety of conditions involving the musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and nervous systems.
The practicum courses will focus on providing a wide range of activities and clinical contexts for the students. These will include:
  • Cardiopulmonary/Acute - This is an acute placement where students are expected to use their specific acute/cardiopulmonary assessment, reasoning and management skills for a variety of patients across the lifespan.
  • Neurology/Rehabilitation - These placements could be in acute, sub-acute or long-term neurological/rehabilitation settings and could also include paediatrics. Students will be able to treat patients with a range of conditions requiring rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is broadly defined and could include general or specialist neurological, geriatric, paediatric, amputee, orthopaedic, hand, spinal injury, cardiopulmonary and workplace-related rehabilitation.
  • Musculoskeletal - This unit allows the student to integrate theory and practical skills in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Placements may be in a public or private setting, either inpatient orthopaedics or an outpatient area of practice. Students will be able to apply examination and intervention skills and demonstrate the application of clinical reasoning and decision making in patients with musculoskeletal disorders across the lifespan.
  • Community - This includes any physiotherapy service provided to, and/or in, the community outside a major institution. This could include the following: community centres, aged care facilities, post-acute care/hospital in the home, outreach teams, domiciliary, paediatric services, disability services, health promotion, exercise classes and private practices.
  • Integrated / general - This covers clinical placements across a broad range of settings including rural/regional placements, private practice, orthopaedics, women’s health, paediatrics, palliative care, amputees, hydrotherapy, workplace rehabilitation etc.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: EXERSCI 731-737

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate responsible practice, applying professional behaviour in one specific area of practice appropriate to at least the minimum standard expected for an entry level physiotherapist (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  2. Demonstrate effective and appropriate communication with clients, whanau, carers, family and health professional colleagues in one specific area of practice to at least the minimum standard expected for an entry level physiotherapist. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate responsible practice, according to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, equity and cultural safety (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Demonstrate safe, systematic, efficient and accurate physical assessments. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  5. Demonstrate accurate analysis and critical interpretation of assessment findings to identify client's problems and set realistic short and long terms goals for a specific practice area (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Critically evaluate evidence to select, perform, monitor and progress interventions safely in a specific area of practice and appropriately in collaboration with clients (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  7. Demonstrate effective implementation of discharge planning to address client and carer's needs for ongoing care in one specific area of practice (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  8. Demonstrate effective planning and education/health promotion in one specific area of practice with clients and caregivers (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  9. Demonstrate effective integration of Maori models of health and wellbeing into the planning and equitable delivery of physiotherapy provision in one specific area of physiotherapy practice (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  10. Critically reflect on the management, within the interdisciplinary team, of clients in one specific area of physiotherapy practice (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Professional Development 90% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Professional Development

Key Topics

200 supervised clinical practice hours within the musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy setting.  Students will 
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge and skills in the examination, evaluation, and treatment of common musculoskeletal impairments of MSK tissues (i.e. muscle, connective tissue, nerve, bone), where impairments include illness, injury, trauma, overuse, postural, genetic, developmental, and post-surgical issues.
  • Apply knowledge of anatomy, pathology and histopathology of MSK tissues through the stages of healing.
  • Demonstrate the ability to generalize therapeutic principles discussed in Module 5 to other, less common MSK conditions.
  • Interpret and critically review the MSK literature while incorporating the concepts to the examination, evaluation, and treatment of common MSK impairments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply prospective clinical reasoning using a two stage hypo-deductive reasoning model where a probing subjective history and patient observation skills are used to develop differential diagnoses and MSK examination and reasoning skills are used to confirm or disprove these diagnoses.
  • Rationalize the selection of and demonstrate the safe performance of appropriate MSK assessment skills, and be able to accurately interpret examination data, including: postural evaluation, palpation of articular & soft tissue structures, upper and lower quadrant scan exams, selective tissue tension testing, ligament stress tests, assessment of ROM and strength, selected passive accessory mobility tests, integumentary system (e.g. skin, hair, nails), proprioception, balance and gait analysis.
  • Determine a primary differential diagnosis at the level of impairment that takes into account stage of healing, nature of the pain, tissue / system pathology, level of irritability and considers both patho-anatomic and patho- mechanical causes of MSK dysfunction.
                            -Identify concerns at the levels of activity and participation.
                            -Discuss how to identify danger signs and common syndromes of non-musculoskeletal origin ('red flags').
  • Understand the basic concepts of various common medical & surgical investigations in MSK impairments as they relate to the physiotherapy primary differential diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate the ability to rationalize and design an MSK intervention plan for common MSK dysfunctions that includes (i) specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based (SMART) functional goals developed in collaboration with the patient / client, (ii) SMART impairment goals that support each functional goal, (iii) appropriate interventions to achieve these goals, and (iv) appropriate outcome measures to evaluate treatment effects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to implement a comprehensive, reasoned intervention plan that is matched to both patient / client needs and the SMART goals (functional, impairment), is safe, cost effective and efficient, and includes re- assessment criteria with subsequent treatment modifications, and discharge criteria.
                              -Address concerns at the levels of impairment, activity and participation
                              -Integrate the multiple determinants of health which influence patient prognosis.
                              -Demonstrate safe, ethical practice, skill and competence in common MSK interventions including soft tissue techniques,                                   therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, devices /aids/ tape, gait and posture re- education, functional training, basic                                                 adaptations to home, work, and sport techniques or environments, and patient education.
Demonstrate the ability to document relevant aspects of the assessment, evaluation and intervention processes, including informed consent, standardized assessment forms, clinical reasoning, SOAP notes, and communications to patients / clinicians.
  • Demonstrate communication and interpersonal skills conducive to effective interaction with patients / clients (and their social support group), peer clinicians, support personnel, and other various health care providers.
                            -Understand the process and rationalization of referring patients/clients to other health care providers and/or                                                              community/government agencies for treatment and/or support while respecting the patient’s / client’s right to confidentiality.

Special Requirements

Must complete 200 hours of clinical placement hours and pass Assignment 1.
Must meet the health and safety requirements of the clinical workplace setting, including immunisation / vaccination requirements

Workload Expectations

Students are expected to spend 32 hours per week in supervised clinical practice.

Attendance at clinical practicum placements is mandatory and the assessment of students consists of a cumulative performance appraisal over the six four day weeks. It is therefore expected that students will attend for the whole of the allocated time. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at the clinical workplace setting  to complete the course.
The course will  include live online events including the oral presentations that form the second assignment.
Attendance on campus is not required.
The activities for the course are scheduled as full workdays four days per week. However, the structure of these may vary depending on the requirements of the clinical workplace setting. 

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

The MPhysioPrac programme is keen to have feedback from students regarding their clinical placement experiences. This information is essential for both the University and Clinical sites and educators.
The clinical placement evaluation form will be provided to you and this should be completed anonymously and returned at the completion of the placement. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

In the event of that the clinical workplace setting decides to exclude students from attending in person for some reason then every effort will be made to ensure that you are able to complete the 1000 clinical hours across the MPhysioPrac programme that are required for an application to be registered as a physiotherapist.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 03/11/2021 08:50 p.m.