PLUS Framework: guidance for practice educators
The practice educator role is complex and becoming more so with changes in placement configurations since the COVID-19 pandemic. The role requires practitioners to manage clinical activities while providing learning opportunities and supervision for students. This can be time-consuming in often stretched clinical settings. This research investigated how experienced practice educators in occupational therapy tailored their approach to supporting student learning to make the most of limited supervision time. The results were developed into the Professional Learning through Useful Support (PLUS) Framework, which revealed how experienced practice educators focused their supervisory approach with students to maximise learning.
An Action Research methodology was used across four cycles. Semi-structured interviews and naturally occurring placement documentation were gathered to determine the critical features of practice educator supervision. Template analysis was used to explore the approaches employed by practice educators to support student learning. Key focal points were linked and situated within educational theory to create the PLUS Framework.
Three key focal points for practice educators were identified: (1) guiding learning, (2) making the theory-to-practice links explicit and (3) supportively challenging students.
The PLUS Framework is an educational tool that describes a set of guidance strategies used by skilled practice educators, whilst acknowledging the critical influences of workplace and university contexts. The proposed key features could be useful target areas for busy practice educators to help make the most of limited supervision time. Future research will explore the PLUS Framework in different countries and professions’ practice education environments.
Journal/Conference/Book titleThe Clinical Teacher