Background: Clinical education is a core component of the curriculum of undergraduate rehabilitation students. Despite the importance of clinical education, this field has more shortcomings than the other fields of education that should be improved
Methods: The aim of this study was to explore the challenges of clinical education from the perspective of rehabilitation educators. Moreover, the COVID-19 outbreak has added new challenges that should be mentioned. This qualitative study was conducted through purposeful sampling. Semi-structured interviews were performed with 12 rehabilitation clinical educators of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences. Data analysis was accomplished according to conventional content analysis. To prove the trustworthiness of the data, credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability were assessed.
Results: By data analysis, 240 initial codes were extracted. They were revealed in three main categories and nine sub-categories indicating redundant challenges faced by COVID -19: restricted clinical resources (inadequate patient number and diversity, inadequate equipment, limited clinical space, inadequate manpower), the inefficient clinical education system (poor management of clinical education programs, insufficient clinical evaluation), personal and professional characteristics of the students (lack of students’ practical knowledge, lack of motivation, fear).
Conclusion: The results of this study provided a deeper insight into the perceptions and experiences of rehabilitation educators about clinical education challenges. At present, the accidental and unexpected problematic event (COVID-19 pandemic) has detrimental effects in various aspects of clinical rehabilitation sciences. It is necessary to implement the changes in futuristic plans for adaptation with COVID-19.