The benefits and challenges of student-led clinics within an Irish context


  • Jane Kavannagh University of Limerick
  • Aine Kearns University of Limerick
  • Tanya McGarry University of Limerick



Student-led clinics are being established internationally as a means of practice education within a variety of disciplines. These clinics can provide opportunities for students in health care professions to have ‘real life’ clinic experiences while also providing beneficial outcomes for service users. This paper reviews the preliminary experiences from thirteen uni-disciplinary student-led clinics (thirty two students in total) in the disciplines of Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) and Physiotherapy (PT). These clinics were part of the placement experience of the students in an Irish University between 2011 and 2013. Clinical Education Quality Audit (CEQA) questionnaires (Ladyshewsky & Barrie, 1996) were used to explore the student experience of these placements, and practice educators were given an opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges of the placements with the University Practice Education team. The data collected was analysed using thematic analysis. A number of themes emerged from the data: Environment, Organisational issues, Professional development / growth, and Relationships. These themes highlighted both positive and challenging features of the placement experiences. This paper will discuss the benefits and challenges of these student-led clinics and outline that overcoming challenges may be an additional important aspect of learning in innovative clinical experiences

Author Biographies

Jane Kavannagh, University of Limerick

Regional Placement Facilitator for Physiotherapy, Dept of Clinical Therapies

Aine Kearns, University of Limerick

Regional Placement Facilitator for Speech and Language Therapy, Dept of Clinical Therapies

Tanya McGarry, University of Limerick

Regional Placement Facilitator for Occupational Therapy, Dept of Clinical Therapies


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How to Cite

Kavannagh, J., Kearns, A., & McGarry, T. (2015). The benefits and challenges of student-led clinics within an Irish context. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 13(2-3), 58-72.