The European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (ENPHE) defines itself as ”The leading Knowledge Forum in Physiotherapy Higher Education in Europe. Home for Educators, Students and Professionals”. Central to the work of ENPHE is the collaboration between different universities and universities of applied sciences in Europe, promoting the harmonized teaching of physiotherapy and the development of the physiotherapy profession. Participating the ENPHE provides opportunities to consolidate the physiotherapy education in Europe and to share good practices. (ENPHE 2023a).
The ENPHE Spring Seminar 2023 was in Bergen, Norway, 9-11 March, on the theme ”Educating Physiotherapists for a Global Mindset” (ENPHE 2023b). The Spring Seminar included a two-day seminar session and a meeting day with ENPHE working group facilitators and board representatives.
Highlights of keynote speeches
The first keynote speakers of the Spring Seminar, Eric Jansen and Joost van Wijchen, gave a presentation on Future Sustainable practices, highlighting the principles of sustainable development and how they are or could be implemented in physical therapy education and in the work of professionals. The second keynote lecture was given by Filip Maric on Environmental Physiotherapy & Planetary Health. The lecture highlighted the importance of the environment and the health of our planet for human well-being and how these themes are raised in environmental physiotherapy. People live in different environments that affect their health and functioning. Physiotherapy can use the environment and nature to support the rehabilitation process by bringing nature indoors or taking rehabilitation into nature. It is essential to ensure that physiotherapy education takes environmental physiotherapy into account, for example by highlighting the positive and negative effects of the environment on health and rehabilitation and the importance of active commuting, e.g. cycling, for human health. The only limitation of environmental physiotherapy is the imagination, as we are always surrounded by the environment. More information on this topic can be found on the website of the Environmental Physiotherapy Association (Environmental Physiotherapy Association a.d.).
ENPHE’s working groups
ENPHE working groups bring together professionals of physiotherapy education around Europe. It provides a great possibility to share good practices and develop education. At the same time, in ENPHE work several working groups such as inter-professional learning, environmental physiotherapy, Internationalization, professional issues, research, facilitation of learning and practice-based learning. One important working group is the student working group, which brings a student perspective to the cooperation. In addition, the working group on emergent topics in physiotherapy “was established to tackle issues that arise over time, which have the potential to impact and shape the education and profession of physiotherapy.” (ENPHE 2023a). Next we present the work of two working groups.
Working group: Research
The main objective of the group is to promote the teaching of research methods and evidence-based physiotherapy, to work together on research, literature reviews and other collaborations that contribute to the teaching of physiotherapy and the development of the field.
The research group worked over two seminar days. The work progressed through the dissemination and promotion of work already initiated. The task of leading the physiotherapy thesis award process for the autumn conference, which has long been the responsibility of the research group, will be taken over from the working group. In future, this will be the responsibility of the EHNPE Board. The group will continue to finalize the article “Educational interventions to increase evidence-based practice competence among physiotherapy students: A scoping review” and publish the article in spring 2023. At the same time, one of the group’s collaborative activities is the project named “More life to your years research and development project”, led by Anne Gret Brader Hanze University of Applied Sciences from the Netherlands. The project was presented at the Autumn 2023 conference. The main focus is to prepare a joint research project and to bring students from different countries together to work on their theses.
As a new opening, the group presented the design of a BIP (blended intensive programme) course on Evidence-based Physiotherapy. The idea here is to collaborate with different universities to design a three-credit intensive week for students in line with the theme. The course would include a virtual component held beforehand and a week-long face-to-face course. Partners will be sought during spring 2023 and the aim is to organize the intensive week during autumn 2023 at Savonia University of Applied Sciences. In addition to these activities, the group discussed the future online journal of ENPHE and what else this group could do in the future. In particular, how we can better support the teaching of research methods in physiotherapy education was raised. New ideas and results of the research group work will be presented at the next ENPHE autumn conference. The collaboration in this respect is moving forward.
Working group: Facilitation of Learning
The overall aim of the work group Facilitation of Learning (FoL) is to facilitate members of ENPHE and other stakeholders to acquire and manage information and knowledge concerning contemporary and innovative approaches to learning and teaching in physiotherapy education and to improve their competences in this field.
The Facilitation of Learning group worked also for two days. During the days the participants were facilitated by using the Manual Thinking method. The discussion with the participants was to scan and plan the program for the working group “Facilitation for learning” and focus group methods to develop our future cooperation. The participants answered what are the needs and wishes for the next seminars and conferences. Also simulation as a method to facilitate learning was introduced.
The discussion was a lot focused on evaluation of learning general and the work group decided to work for this topic in conference in Autumn 2023. Also the plan is to create a digital collection of good practices in facilitation of learning.
ENPHE offers a good opportunity for international cooperation and development of physiotherapy education. The different working groups offer many opportunities for action.
Marja Äijö, PhD, Principal lecturer: gerontology and rehabilitation, Savonia University of Applied Science
Mari Törne, MSc, Senior lecturer, Physiotherapist, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences Ltd
ENPHE. 2023a. The European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education. https://www.enphe.org/en
ENPHE. 2023b. ENPHE Seminar 2023: Educating Physiotherapists for a Global Mindset. Viitattu 5.4.2023. Saatavissa: https://www.enphe.org/en/events/enphe-seminar-2023-educating-physiotherapists-for-a-global-mindset
Environmental Physiotherapy Association. a.d. Environmental Physiotherapy Association. Viitattu 5.4.2023. Saatavissa: http://environmentalphysio.com/