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Pat Cosh Trust grant paves way for clinical education research

After unsuccessfully applying for a few grants to help progress her research, Christine Frith, APAM, heard about a colleague who had received a grant designed to help advance the education of Victorian physiotherapists and physiotherapy students. So she applied for a Pat Cosh Trust grant in 2016 and was successful, finding just what she needed to advance her research into physiotherapy clinical educators in the public hospital setting.

‘The funding was for about $20 000 and that allowed me some time to build the literature review, to type focus group transcripts and write the report, which takes quite a while. It also provided some resources that supported me in my data collection,’ Christine says.

She says the grant allowed her to further explore clinical educator beliefs about teaching and learning, in turn offering an insight into areas where professional development could be concentrated to best improve the teaching and learning experience for physiotherapy students.

‘We know that clinical educators are probably the most important external influence on a student’s learning, so if you look at all the education literature from classroom education and also from medicine and physiotherapy, there’s a lot that talks about the quality of teaching being really important. It’s interesting that we don’t have a lot of training in how to teach physios to teach students,’ she says.

For Christine, the grant was a ‘fabulous shot in the arm for an educator to have some support with their research’ and she is continuing this research now as part of a Masters of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

‘It’s very hard to generate research ideas and produce research if you work as a physiotherapist—just to squeeze it in. I think one difficulty now is that there are lots of people who are competing for the same research funding. I was so lucky to receive the Pat Cosh grant, I’m very grateful for the opportunity. For people interested in education who might be thinking about applying, if you are lucky enough to obtain a grant, it comes with some guidelines and support from the APA. For someone who is new to research, this is very helpful. I think it’s a fabulous grant and I would encourage everyone to apply,’ Christine says.

Pat Cosh was the first female president of the APA Victorian branch and was also a founding member of the Australian College of Physiotherapists. The Pat Cosh Trust was set up to advance the education of practitioners and students of physiotherapy by initiating and supporting programs that improve their ability to practice, and to fund research to improve the standard of education of physiotherapy practitioners and students.

Applications are now open for the 2018 round of the Pat Cosh Trust grants. A total pool of $30 000 will be allocated next year, and applications for grants of up to $15 000 will be considered. The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm on 8 November. Applications are open to all physiotherapists in Victoria. For details, please email.


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