Best Practices in Bridging Education: Multiple Case Study Evaluation of Postsecondary Bridging Programs for Internationally Educated Health Professionals.
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AIMS: Bridging education for internationally trained professionals has grown in popularity, but little is known about promising practices for bridging education in allied health professions. This paper addresses this gap by examining the expected outcomes of effective bridging programs, the key features that contribute to their effectiveness, challenges faced by bridging programs, and the appropriate role of regulatory colleges, government, employers, and professional associations in bridging education. METHODS: We conducted a mixed-methods multiple case study analysis of seven bridging programs in Ontario, Canada, in five allied health professions: medical laboratory technology, medical radiation technology, diagnostic medical sonography, respiratory therapy, and physical therapy. RESULTS: Effective bridging programs are accessible and flexible in content and format. The key challenges include developing curricula tailored to participants' needs, identifying appropriate format for program delivery, obtaining clinical placements for participants, and achieving financial sustainability. Government, professional, and educational stakeholders should play a central role in bridging education planning and delivery. CONCLUSION: The success of a bridging program relies on two key components-program design and infrastructure. Partnerships with government, professional, and educational stakeholders facilitate the development of good bridging programs.
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