Clinical Instructors

Placement Dates 2021-2022
Learning Objectives and Unit Overviews
Placement Catchment Areas
Other University Catchments
Affiliated Facilities
International Placements
  • Demonstrates your commitment to continuing education
  • Helps you keep current in your practice
  • Shows responsibility and commitment to the physiotherapy profession
  • Facilitates recruitment of physiotherapists to your area of practice and facility
  • It is necessary to the provision of care of physiotherapy in the future
  • Allows you the opportunity to become a McMaster Professional Associate (PA)
  • Eligibility to receive an honorarium for supervising students

Once a physiotherapist has committed to take a student for a clinical placement, specific responsibilities and objectives related to that placement will be outlined prior to the start of the placement.

We encourage all prospective clinical instructors to review the MSc(PT) Clinical Instructor Handbook, which will provide a general overview of the MSc(PT) program and clinical education aspects.

Placement offers can be submitted by directly emailing You will receive a confirmation email once we have processed your placement offer. Placement offers for Clinical Practice I - IV can be offered at any time of the year. 

In order to provide excellent clinical experiences for our students, we have the following guidelines for physiotherapists that are interested in supervising students for clinical placements:

  • Be licensed and in good standing with a recognized College of Physiotherapists
  • Agree to abide by McMaster University policies and procedures
  • Comply with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Standards of Professional Practice, especially regarding Clinical Education


The Placement Process:

  1. Placement request emails are sent to clinical sites within the McMaster University catchment area 4-5 months prior to the start of placement.
  2. The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) follows up with the clinical sites ensuring an appropriate number of placement offers have been provided and attempts to ensure there are enough offers in each setting to meet student needs. Students may not make personal arrangements with clinical sites, clinical instructors, or with clinical coordinators without written permission from the DCE. 
  3. As placements are confirmed they are posted for students to view. Each student is assigned to an area of practice (i.e. community, rehabilitation, hospital/acute).
  4. Eligible students select and submit their placement preferences online based on the assigned area of practice.
  5. Students are matched to a placement considering their placement preferences and clinical requirements.
  6. Once the placement matching process has been completed, students are able to view the results. Students are provided the opportunity to apply to switch placements with a classmate or to switch into an unassigned placement offer.
  7. Once all placements are finalized, clinical sites are notified with their student assignment. Students are informed that they are able to contact their clinical site. 

Separate processes are in place for out of catchment, Northern Studies Stream, and international placements.

The Northern Studies Stream (NSS) was established in 1991 to specifically address the shortage of OTs, PTs, and SLPs in Northwestern Ontario through various recruitment and retention initiatives. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) coordinates student placements across northern Ontario for a multitude of health disciplines. 

The goals of the current NSS are threefold: 

  • To increase student awareness and knowledge of the health determinants that are unique to northern and rural communities; 
  • To increase student awareness of Aboriginal health issues, culture, and health practices relevant to the First Nations people living in northern and rural Ontario; and 
  • To increase student skills in addressing professional practice issues while engaging in clinical education and living in a northern and/or rural community.   

With 25 years of documented success, the current NSS is focused on providing clinical education opportunities for students across northern Ontario. Approximately 50% of students in the PT Program will have the opportunity to participate in clinical education placements in Northern Ontario. 

Students who are Northern Ontario residents will be given priority for placements, however, any student, regardless of residency, may apply. Funding for travel and accommodation is available, to a maximum cost paid for by the NSS, through funding made available by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. 

Map of Cities Included in the Northern Study Stream

Handbooks & Placement Checklist: 

Evaluation Forms:

Evaluation Guides:

Cardiorespiratory and Neurological Practice Hour Tracking:

Clinical Instructor Orientation Modules

Safety, Insurance, and Student Injury on Placement:

Students at Risk:

Acute Care Review for Team Based Care (May 2021):

ACP Trends:

Additional Resources:

Clinical instructors are eligible to receive an honorarium for supervising students on clinical placements. Honorariums will be issued in the Spring and the Fall.

In keeping with the McMaster philosophy of self-directed, life-long learning, allocation of this money should be used to support clinical instructors professional development. Clinical instructors are allocated $10 per day (or $50 per week) per student. For role emerging placements, clinical instructors are allocated $25 per day (or $125 per week) per student.

  1. What do I do if a student is injured while on placement?
    First, refer your student for proper medical attention and complete your facility’s Incident Report as necessary. Then, contact Jasdeep Dhir (Director of Clinical Education) and she will send you the McMaster Incident Report, which also needs to be completed. Fax / forward/ email the McMaster Incident Report within 24 hours to Jasdeep Dhir (DCE).
  2. What do I do if a student requests 3 days off their placement (e.g. to attend a wedding)? 
    Students should submit planned absences prior to placement to Jasdeep Dhir (DCE) and she will negotiate with the preceptors (if approved). If a student requests time off to the preceptor, the preceptor should refer this to Jasdeep (so they are not put in the uncomfortable position of making this decision). Students are aware of this process for planned absences.
  3. Will I still receive the honorarium if I take a PT student from another university
    Yes. You will receive the honorarium for any PT student you supervise, whether they are from McMaster, another Canadian University, or from a PT school in another country, as long as the placement was organized by the Clinical Coordinator from the PT program at McMaster.
  4. Will taking a student for placement affect the WSIB or insurance premiums of my facility?
    No. The Ontario Ministry of Education pays for our students to be covered while they are out on clinical placement in case of injury. When you complete the Work Education Placement Agreement (WEPA) forms at the beginning of the placement, you are indicating to us which type of premium the Ministry needs to pay. For example, if you have WSIB coverage at your facility you would check that off on the WEPA form & that is paid for by the Ministry, not your facility.
  5. What should I do if I don’t think my student is demonstrating appropriate skills or knowledge during their placement?
    When it is early on in the placement and you are noticing that your student is not performing at an appropriate level, it is easy to decide to wait and see if things improve on their own. However, placement weeks go very quickly and the longer that the problems are not addressed, the less time you and the student will have to work together on these issues. As soon as you notice problems, please document them and contact the DCE with your concerns and to discuss strategies to implement with your student.
  6. I would be interested in being a preceptor but work part-time – what can I do to become involved with student placements?
    Please contact the PT Program Clinical Education Assistant anytime to express your interest – depending on your clinical setting and your hours, there are many possibilities and the DCE would be happy to discuss these with you.
  7. Is it important to evaluate my student using the Learning Contract that they formulate?
    Yes. The Learning Contract is 1 of the 2 (the ACP being the other) mandatory evaluation tools used to evaluate the students while on placement. It is a contract developed by the student and discussed with the preceptor within the first 2 weeks of placement. It includes 5 objectives—2 related to assessment, 2 related to treatment, and 1 ’other’ (e.g. in-service, documenting, etc.). It should be evaluated at midterm and final evaluation (although we do realize that many objectives may not have been met by midterm). The preceptor assigns a mark from 0-2 for each objective and, in the event an objective could not be met due to e.g. inability to be exposed to the content, a N/A could be indicated. It should then be signed by the preceptor and returned to the school by the student.
  8. I would like to take a student this unit, however, I have vacation booked during this time. What are my options?
    Some terms offer flexibility regarding dates and students are to be flexible in this respect. We also welcome part-time or shared placement opportunities. Please contact the Clinical Education Team to discuss your specific situation, as we are always happy to accommodate.
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