Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Education and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Program evaluation of a model to integrate internationally educated health professionals into clinical practice

Alison Greig*, Diana Dawes, Susan Murphy, Gillian Parker and Brenda Loveridge

Author Affiliations

Department of Physical Therapy, Wesbrook Mall, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:140  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-140

Published: 11 October 2013

Abstract

Background

The demand for health professionals continues to increase, partially due to the aging population and the high proportion of practitioners nearing retirement. The University of British Columbia (UBC) has developed a program to address this demand, by providing support for internationally trained Physiotherapists in their preparation for taking the National Physiotherapy competency examinations.

The aim was to create a program comprised of the educational tools and infrastructure to support internationally educated physiotherapists (IEPs) in their preparation for entry to practice in Canada and, to improve their pass rate on the national competency examination.

Methods

The program was developed using a logic model and evaluated using program evaluation methodology. Program tools and resources included educational modules and curricular packages which were developed and refined based on feedback from clinical experts, IEPs and clinical physical therapy mentors. An examination bank was created and used to include test-enhanced education. Clinical mentors were recruited and trained to provide clinical and cultural support for participants.

Results

The IEP program has recruited 124 IEPs, with 69 now integrated into the Canadian physiotherapy workforce, and more IEPs continuing to apply to the program. International graduates who participated in the program had an improved pass rate on the national Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE); participation in the program resulted in them having a 28% (95% CI, 2% to 59%) greater possibility of passing the written section than their counterparts who did not take the program. In 2010, 81% of all IEP candidates who completed the UBC program passed the written component, and 82% passed the clinical component.

Conclusion

The program has proven to be successful and sustainable. This program model could be replicated to support the successful integration of other international health professionals into the workforce.

Keywords:
International health graduates; Educational program development; Program evaluation; Integration