A process of informed consent for student learning through peer physical examination in pelvic floor physiotherapy practice Academic Article uri icon


  • Peer physical examination (PPE) is a method of teaching and learning clinical skills in which students use fellow students as surrogate patients or models. PPE is recognised as useful as an experiential learning method to increase skill development for physiotherapy clinical practice. However students may feel pressured to participate despite discomfort and embarrassment when practising physical examination and treatment skills with their peers. Obtaining students' informed consent to participate in PPE is an important process to address these disadvantages of PPE. This paper proposes a three stage process for obtaining informed consent from postgraduate physiotherapy students learning pelvic floor examination and treatment skills. The process is designed to encourage educators to articulate the ethical issues that are relevant in this area of teaching; to provide information to students to enable them to understand what is involved and to choose to participate, and to offer alternatives to participation through a formalised process of informed consent. These steps mirror students' future obligations and actions when communicating with their patients.

publication date

  • 2012