Original Research

Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable: The tale of adaptability

Anke van der Merwe, Roline Barnes, Mariette Nel
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 79, No 1 | a1889 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v79i1.1889 | © 2023 Anke van der Merwe, Roline Barnes, Mariette Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 March 2023 | Published: 13 June 2023

About the author(s)

Anke van der Merwe, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Roline Barnes, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Mariette Nel, Department Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: With the ever-changing healthcare environment and impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on tertiary education, healthcare students need to constantly adapt their approach to learning, clinical practice and well-being. Adaptive performance is therefore vital.

Objectives: To investigate the adaptive performance of final year physiotherapy students at the University of the Free State.

Method: A quantitative descriptive study was performed. All consenting final year undergraduate physiotherapy students registered at the University of the Free State in 2021 were approached for inclusion. The short 55-item I-ADAPT measurement was distributed electronically to all possible participants.

Results: The response rate was 28.5% (n = 8). Descriptive statistics, namely frequencies and percentages for categorical data and medians and percentages for numerical data were calculated. The dimensions related to handling work stress (50%), uncertainty (62.2%) and creativity (64.0%) scored the lowest. Emotional response to stress (62.5%) and frustration in response to unpredictable situations (62.5%) was reported.

Conclusion: Uncertainty and unpredictability are inevitable for healthcare students. Stress management and emotional intelligence development are advised for inclusion in undergraduate physiotherapy programmes.

Clinical implications: A need for curricular evaluation to ensure students are equipped with stress management and emotional intelligence skills is proposed.

 


Keywords

adaptive performance; undergraduate physiotherapy; I-ADAPT measurement; healthcare education; graduate attributes

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