COVID-19: how has a global pandemic changed manual therapy technique education in chiropractic programs around the world?

Katie de Luca*, Marcus McDonald, Laura Montgomery, Stephen Sharp, Anika Young, Simon Vella, Michelle M. Holmes, Sasha Aspinall, Danica Brousseau, Chris Burrell, David Byfield, Dawn Dane, Philip Dewhurst, Aron Downie, Roger Engel, Brian Gleberzon, Dana Hollandsworth, Anne Molgaard Nielsen, Laura O’Connor, David StarmerMichael Tunning, Paul Wanlass, Simon D. French

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Manual therapy is a cornerstone of chiropractic education, whereby students work towards a level of skill and expertise that is regarded as competent to work within the field of chiropractic. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, chiropractic programs in every region around the world had to make rapid changes to the delivery of manual therapy technique education, however what those changes looked like was unknown. 

Aims: The aims of this study were to describe the immediate actions made by chiropractic programs to deliver education for manual therapy techniques and to summarise the experience of academics who teach manual therapy techniques during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. 

Methods: A qualitative descriptive approach was used to describe the immediate actions made by chiropractic programs to deliver manual therapy technique education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chiropractic programs were identified from the webpages of the Councils on Chiropractic Education International and the Council on Chiropractic Education – USA. Between May and June 2020, a convenience sample of academics who lead or teach in manual therapy technique in those programs were invited via email to participate in an online survey with open-ended questions. Responses were entered into the NVivo software program and analysed using a reflexive thematic analysis by a qualitative researcher independent to the data collection. 

Results: Data from 16 academics in 13 separate chiropractic programs revealed five, interconnected themes: Immediate response; Move to online delivery; Impact on learning and teaching; Additional challenges faced by educators; and Ongoing challenges post lockdown. 

Conclusion: This study used a qualitative descriptive approach to describe how some chiropractic programs immediately responded to the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in their teaching of manual therapy techniques. Chiropractic programs around the world provided their students with rapid, innovative learning strategies, in an attempt to maintain high standards of chiropractic education; however, challenges included maintaining student engagement in an online teaching environment, psychomotor skills acquisition and staff workload.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages11
JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Chiropractic
  • Chiropractic technique
  • COVID-19
  • Education
  • Manual therapy
  • qQualitative

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