Physiotherapy students active in developing European physiotherapy education

Lea Heinrich and Elina Pettersson, second year students of physiotherapy in SAMK, act on the European level physiotherapy education development beside their studies. Why, where and which way?

7.12.2018 | By: Aino Pelto-Huikko | Photo: Anne Sankari

Elina Pettersson & Lea Heinrich posing for the camera
Elina Pettersson & Lea Heinrich

Lea Heinrich and Elina Pettersson are active in European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education, ENPHE. They have both common and specific roles there. Specific ones are Heinrich being elected recently as one of the three student board members, and Pettersson, a former MSc in Industrial Management and a Bachelor in Logistics Engineering, has worked as the web-survey assistant and data analyst for an ENPHE development project.

Three tasks from ENPHE board are, right now, clarifying and renewing the strategy and structure, ideal way of learning and future’s work: what a physiotherapist work would and should be.

Giving input to how the education works in practice

By and large, the ladies represent physiotherapy students in Finland.
– It’s basically about giving our input to how the education works in practice.  It’s about sharing ideas, best practices and feedback, presenting new projects, Pettersson tells.
– For example, we work for a common understanding what an ideal anatomy lecture should look like, Heinrich mentions.

The existing teaching methods differ much from country to country. In some countries there are no hands on exercises or possibility to ask during the teaching session, and the relation between students and staff is hierarchical. That is quite opposed to, for example, Finland. In students’ opinion, part of the European reality is ‘very far from our ideal session’.

In students’ opinion, part of the European reality is ‘very far from our ideal session’

– We work here very close to the teachers, feel like doing together and cooperating. The differences come also from how much teaching staff trust students’ independent doing and that even as give new input, and  is the method more like ‘this is what you do’ or ‘finding the way’, the students say.

They have met, also, their own prejudices or skepticism to, for example, e-learning.

– It is also super-interesting to hear teacher’s perspective, Heinrich states.

Annually, there are two big ENPHE meetings: a working seminar in spring and a conference in the autumn consisting more of key note speakers presentations. Nowadays, students, i.e. becoming professionals, are integrated to the common working with physiotherapy professionals.
– It’s a good network, easy to slip in, with open minded people, and most teachers really want our input, Heinrich says.
– And we get even a sneak peak of the latest research in the conferences, Pettersson adds.

The ladies became interested in participating ENPHE as their teacher, senior lecturer Maija Kangasperko is an ENPHE board member, who encouraged them. In addition, there is a third active student from SAMK:  a third year student Matthias Rigal.

SAMK offers physiotherapy degree education in English since 1994.

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