Academic rehabilitation encompasses education, training, research, and continuing professional development. This section covers all these aspects and some matters that are not easily fitted elsewhere, such as advice on writing papers (here). Many blog posts also cover academic issues, especially ‘from the journals’ (here) and ‘rehabilitation matters (here). The UK has a good track record of research into rehabilitation. For example, the Society for Research in Rehabilitation (here) was founded in 1978, before rehabilitation was a recognised medical speciality. On the other hand, academic rehabilitation departments with a multi-professional team researching rehabilitation are rare. Many professors of rehabilitation are based with departments focused on a single profession. This site section is in its infancy and currently focuses mainly on training.
In the UK, at least, doctors are the only profession with a validated, nationally recognised training programme in rehabilitation. Much of the content of this section refers to medical training or draws on it. I am chair of the Rehabilitation Medicine Specialist Advisory Committee. I led the development and writing of the new 2021 curriculum and its associated syllabus in that role. (here)
However, my interest is not simply in training doctors in rehabilitation; I hope that all other professions will one day be able to acquire recognised expertise in rehabilitation in addition to their professional training. So a significant proportion of this section concerns training in rehabilitation for all.
Indeed, many courses, conferences and other educational activities undertaken by other professions already cover rehabilitation, albeit focusing on the aspects of rehabilitation that particularly interest the professional group. One of the best rehabilitation conferences I have attended was an international meeting organised by ACPIN, the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology.
Moreover, and very importantly, the only specifically academic, national, rehabilitation research group in the UK is a genuinely multi-professional society, the Society for Research in Rehabilitation. This society runs meetings that include an explicitly multi-professional educational component. It also has a comprehensive scope both in terms of research covered and membership. It is not expensive to join.
Most major healthcare academic departments are in Medical Schools and are part of older, well-established universities. When these medical schools were founded, there was no recognised UK speciality of rehabilitation, and, consequently, it has been challenging to set up and develop rehabilitation departments. Some did develop, for example, in Leeds. (here)
Moreover, for most of the 20th century, medicine was the only profession that had a university education and degree. Clinical Psychologists and speech and language therapists were, probably, the next rehabilitation professions to have a university degree training. Most other disciplines went to vocational training colleges. In the later 1900s, many Higher Education Colleges became Universities, and at that point, most rehabilitation professions acquired a university degree. However, it was some years before the academic teaching departments also became actively and consistently involved in research.
Despite the late development of University degree courses for most allied health professions, many nurses and therapists (as a generic term) undertook research, gained higher degrees and were already well-established academically before university departments in different disciplines existed. Some at least worked in rehabilitation departments, usually within a medical school. Having other professions working in a single rehabilitation department was good because it fostered a multiprofessional approach to rehabilitation and rehabilitation research. Following the development of many different departments, one for each profession, this collaborative, cross-professional research approach was much reduced. Individuals still collaborated, but a multiprofessional focus was lost.
This split into various professional departments weakened academic rehabilitation, and each focused on research relating to their profession. This separation of professions has reduced research into rehabilitation as a multi-professional team activity. It has not encouraged any research into teamwork, team communication, and other team-based features.
This section currently focuses on education and training. It has set out a proposed set of high-level training outcomes that someone from any profession could acquire through training to be experts in their professional and rehabilitation. Developing these capabilities would be appropriate for any Advanced Clinical Practitioner wishing to be an expert in rehabilitation.
The section currently also has a small amount about research. The most significant part concerns writing for publication, but there is also a page on measurement. I hope the section will have pages on theories and frameworks in due course.
Education and training
This part covers medical training in some detail, but it also covers, I hope to an increasing amount over time, the education and training in rehabilitation that all team members need. I hope that the content of this section will make up for the current absence of any specific qualification that identifies someone as having specialist rehabilitation expertise. Read more. There is also an education and training blog. Last, this section has a link to the Clinical Rehabilitation Twitter feed which has very many tweets drawing attention to interesting papers published that are relevant to rehabilitation.
This section covers two aspects of research: doing it, including advice on writing and getting published; and reading research including particular information about new ideas.