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Teaching person-centred practice in physiotherapy curricula: a literature review

Killingback, Clare; Tomlinson, Amy; Stern, Julian; Whitfield, Clare


Julian Stern


Background: There is a growing expectation that healthcare should focus on the needs of the individual patient with the philosophy of person-centred practice as the central model for care delivery. Given the importance of person-centred practice, there is a need to understand how curricula are preparing physiotherapy students for working in a person-centred manner. Objectives: The aim of this literature review was to explore empirical studies relating to educational interventions to teach person-centred practice in physiotherapy pre-qualifying curricula. Methods: A systematic search was conducted across six electronic bibliographic databases to identify relevant studies. Data were extracted and analysed with thematic and narrative synthesis. Results: A total of 1621 studies were identified through the search strategy and screened against the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria (five qualitative, two quantitative, and one mixed methods). Three themes were identified from the student perspective on the educational interventions: positive impact on learning; creating a safe, authentic, person-centred learning environment; and challenges in changing views. Quantitative studies suggested the interventions enhanced learning on person-centred practice. Conclusions: A wide range of educational interventions were used to teach person-centred practice which appeared to have a positive impact on student learning and led to a greater sensitivity of person-centred practice. Further research is needed to understand whether educational interventions to teach person-centred practice translate to changed behaviour in clinical practice to the benefits of those receiving physiotherapy services.


Killingback, C., Tomlinson, A., Stern, J., & Whitfield, C. (2022). Teaching person-centred practice in physiotherapy curricula: a literature review. Physical Therapy Reviews, 27(1), 40-50.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 14, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 9, 2021
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2022
Journal Physical Therapy Reviews
Print ISSN 1083-3196
Electronic ISSN 1743-288X
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 1
Pages 40-50
Keywords Person-centred practice; Physiotherapy curricula; Physiotherapy education; Pre-qualifying
Public URL


Accepted Manuscript (414 Kb)

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© 2021 University of Hull

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