Physical Therapist Clinical Instructor Demographics and Traits that Impact Student Clinical Education Experiences: A Systematic Review

Purpose/Hypothesis : Many factors affect a studentÕs clinical education (CE) experience including the clinical site, type of clinical setting and the clinical instructor (CI). Previous systematic reviews have studied effective teaching behaviors and communication styles across allied health professions but behaviors of physical therapists (PTs) serving as CIs have not been closely analyzed. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify summative physical therapist CI demographics and traits that impact studentsÕ CE experience. The methodological rigor of the available evidence on the characteristics/traits of effective CIs was also assessed..Number of Subjects : 7Materials/Methods : This study was a systematic review of English-language journals using PubMed, CINAHL, and ERIC computer search engines. Terms pertaining to clinical education and preceptors were utilized to identify appropriate articles. Summary findings were characterized using a qualitative directed content analysis. The methodological rigor of the studies was critically appraised using a binary system based on the McMaster appraisal tool.Results : Seven articles were included. CI demographic data revealed the average CI was female, with 6.2-9.13 years of CI experience, 8.17-13.28 years working as a PT, held an entry-level bachelor degree, was a non-APTA member, was a general practitioner rather than a clinical specialist, and was a non-APTA credentialed CI. Two themes emerged as characteristics/traits of PT CIs that may impact a studentÕs experience: CI credentialing status, and communication/teaching styles. The most effective communication skills exhibited by the CI included giving timely feedback to the student, used clear and concise communication, and clearly explained responsibilities to the student.. Other effective CI behaviors included being able to adapt the experience to the student, using a line of questioning and modeling as a teaching style, and developing an open relationship between the CI and the student. It is still unclear whether APTA-credentialing influences CI effectiveness. The methodological rigor of the studies ranged from 11-14, indicating studies were moderate to high quality, with moderate to low risk of bias.Conclusions : The data from this review identified characteristics of the average PT serving as a CI, as well as effective communication styles and behaviors. Higher level evidence needs to be complied to determine if CI effectiveness correlates with being an APTA-credentialed CI or years of experience.Clinical Relevance : This study is the first systematic review summarizing PT CI credentials and traits. Knowledge of this information may help direct future need of CE research.

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  • Control #: 1722752
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Rachel Reed, Leigh K. Murray, Christine McCallum
  • Keywords: clinical education|clinical instructor

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