PT7004 - Physiotherapy in complex contexts

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will critically explore how physiotherapy can support changing needs across the life course to promote health and well-being. The life course approach to health encourages us to consider not only what is impacting on a person at a particular point in time, but also the need to consider past experience and plan for future needs. The focus will be on inclusive, person centred practice and our role in advocating for the people we work with. Person centred care is central to contemporary health policy and in this module, you will critically consider how we achieve this in different contexts. You will be encouraged to engage with theoretical frameworks of person centred, life course approach to health and consider their application to physiotherapy. You will integrate this theoretical understanding with application to specific areas of physiotherapy practice, including mental health, learning disability, paediatrics and care of older adults.

This module also houses your final year placement and you will be encouraged to consider the HCPC and CSP standards and use reflective skills to identify your learning needs for this final year of study. You will be aware of the complex and evolving contexts of Physiotherapy practice and through this module you will demonstrate your developing confidence, initiative and resilience in adapting your practice. In addition, you will have the opportunity to practice Physiotherapy therapeutic skills in a “real” environment in a variety of practice placement areas with the support of University and Clinically based supervisors. This experience will consolidate the skills that you have developed within the University and enable you to understand the links between theory and practice.

How will I learn on this module?

The taught content will be delivered and provided in a variety of formats including lectures, seminars and workshops, and you will be able to access materials on the eLP. There will be the opportunity to work in smaller groups with staff who will facilitate context driven discussion and learning. You will also be set independent tasks informed by key literature and health policy to complete outside of class time to further develop your understanding of the taught content. Guest contributors including service users, carers and health professionals will add insight from specialist areas of experience and practice. HCPC and CSP standards relating to expectations on qualification will be referred to throughout this module. During placement you will work with an experienced physiotherapists who will guide your professional development in the context of the specific physiotherapy setting. You will use a portfolio of learning to make links between the university and practice based learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Module information, assessment requirements and expectations, and important module announcements will be made through the eLP. Material to support your learning will be uploaded in advance of sessions. You will be provided with content verbally and guided through tasks during timetabled sessions. A dedicated assessment session will afford you the opportunity to ask assessment related questions in class. The Module Leader is there to support you with any queries that you may have about the module content. You will have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on your development during the module, and you will receive feedback on summative work to help you identify areas of strength and areas for development. There will be the opportunity to discuss your feedback with a member of staff. There is also further academic skills support available from the University Library services.

The module contains some challenging themes which are very relevant to physiotherapy practice with the aim of allowing you to explore the issues in a safe and supported environment. You are encouraged to discuss anything you find difficult with the module team or your personal tutor.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Critically appraise and synthesise evidence on appropriate physiotherapy management in a range of patient populations with more complex needs drawing on person centred theoretical frameworks
2. Show a critical awareness of physical, mental, cognitive, emotional and social needs in order to understand the experience of living with more complex needs

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Critically explore the contribution of physiotherapy within the wider health and social care system in meeting the needs of people with more complex needs
2. Synthesise information from complex patient assessments into appropriate treatment plans

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. Demonstrate cultural competence and an inclusive approach to practice which shows the ability to promote and protect the interests of service users and carers from a diverse cultural background

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be through discussion and feedback related to key themes of the module during seminars and workshops.

Summative assessment will be a 4000-word written assignment exploring how physiotherapy meets changing needs across the lifespan.

Written feedback will be provided on your assignment. In addition, group feedback will be posted on the eLP. You will have the opportunity to discuss your feedback with the module tutor.

K&U 1,2,
IPSA 1,2

Formative assessment: You will receive feedback on your professional development during seminars and workshops and in pre and post placement tutorials where you will reflect on and plan for your placement learning. During placement there will be ongoing formative assessment of practice where strengths and areas for development are identified. This will be supported through regular supervision meetings between the student and the practice educator.

Summative assessment: Level 6 Practice Placement Competencies
You will be assessed by your Practice Educator on a pass/fail basis in line with specified level 6 competencies. You will receive written and verbal feedback on your strengths and areas for development from your Practice Educator





Module abstract

This module will encourage you to consider your own development towards professional practice in the context of keeping the patient or service user at the centre of everything you do. By exploring how individuals needs change across the life span you will enhance your appreciation of the need for a flexible and inclusive approach to your practice. Personalised care is at the heart of contemporary health policy and the themes within this module will ensure you are well positioned to contribute to this agenda. You will work alongside service users and professionals to discuss the realities of person-centred practice, challenge your own assumptions and consider the values and attributes needed to provide the best possible physiotherapy. You will undergo mandatory training to prepare you for clinical practice, work to develop your Continuing Professional Development portfolio as well as complete pre- and post-placement workshops to prepare and reflect on your clinical practice experience.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Full Time

Department Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start January 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy