G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Perspectives on physiotherapy students' professional competence development during their education (2019)

Kurunsaari, Merja (2019). Perspectives on physiotherapy students' professional competence development during their education. JYU dissertations, 69. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7702-3

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kurunsaari, Merja

eISBN: 978-951-39-7702-3

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 69

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (104 sivua, 51 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 25 numeroimatonta sivua) :

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7702-3

Open Access: Publication published in an open access channel


The aim of this dissertation was to investigate, from different perspectives, how physiotherapy students understand and experience their competence and its development during their education. The research focused on the whole study path of students (n=35) from the very beginning of their studies to their graduation. The data, essays and open interviews, were analysed using phenomenographic analysis and narrative analysis approaches. The purpose was to identify the various ways in which beginning physiotherapy students understand the conceptions of skill, to describe graduating students’ experiences of reflective writing as a tool for learning, to identify students’ conceptions of their competence at the end of their education, and to examine students’ professional competence development during their physiotherapy education. The findings showed that, in the early stage of their education, the students had different conceptions of skill varying from seeing it as a talent to regarding it as a competence requiring collaboration. The students varied in their views regarding reflective writing as a requirement in their education, ranging from seeing it as a useless task to considering it to be a useful tool for deepening their understanding or for self-reflection or professional development. Graduating students’ conceptions of their competence varied. While some of them understood competence as mastering core skills, others saw it as understanding the theoretical basis of physiotherapy, or having a holistic view of physiotherapy, or engaging in and developing multi-professional collaboration. Finally, the narrative stories were used to gather and assess the most common types of professional development and turning points along the students’ educational path and professional development. Both empirically and theoretically grounded developmental themes (emotions, reflection, context, cultural awareness), emerged when exploring the findings of the four studies comprising this dissertation. The research results cast light on and contribute to a deeper understanding regarding students’ competences, competence levels and professional development. It suggests a need to take individual aims into account in educational planning. The results are useful in developing higher education at least in physiotherapy.

Keywords: reflection (cognitive processes); physiotherapy; know-how; professional skills; professional development; students; interviews; essays; emotions; context; learning

Free keywords: physiotherapy students; physiotherapy education; professional competence in higher education; professional development; qualitative research

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

Last updated on 2020-09-07 at 11:47