Changes in Physical Therapy StudentÕs Perceptions of Professional and Social Responsibility Following Participation in a Student-Led Inter-Professional Community Outreach Clinic

Purpose/Hypothesis : Over the past six months, Indiana University physical therapy students have organized a student run clinic as part of a larger medical school led inter-professional outreach initiative. As participants in this initiative, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students engaged in patient care, mentorship and inter-professional activities. The exposure of students to this pro-bono clinic provided opportunities for the development of enhanced clinical competency as well as professional and social responsibility. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how student participation in this clinic influenced their perceptions of professional and social responsibility.Number of Subjects : Twenty physical therapy students in their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd academic years participated in the study. Each subject volunteered to work at the pro bono clinic for four hours. All students worked as pairs or in groups of three when evaluating and treating patientsMaterials/Methods : An open-ended questionnaire was created from a previously validated instrument designed to measure student civic mindedness. Reflection prompts were created to capture student thoughts relative to constructs correlated to civic engagement and professional responsibility. The survey was administered following the 4-hour clinical experience. Three researchers independently evaluated student responses for themes and then validated the concepts through a formal review process.Results : The results indicate that students had positive influential experiences that focus on four distinct areas: professional competency, professional responsibility, civic identity, and philanthropy. Student responses demonstrating professional responsibility included an appreciation for the importance of Òtreating the patient as a wholeÓ as well as a desire to mentor future students in this setting. Professional responsibility was seen in comments made about the opportunity to apply what they had learned as well as Òadvocating for community wellness.Ó Students expressed surprise in learning about their potential impact in the community, which caused many to indicate a desire to be more civically engaged. Philanthropy was seen in comments made about the students expressing a desire to be Òmore invested in pro bono work.Ó These findings parallel the physical therapy professionÕs core values of excellence, professional duty, social responsibility, and altruism.Conclusions : Instilling a sense of professional responsibility and civic mindedness can sometimes be challenging for physical therapy education programs. Even more difficult is measuring the change in these attributes. The involvement of students within a student led pro-bono physical therapy clinic provided an environment that fostered the development of professional and civic oriented responsibility.Clinical Relevance : Providing opportunities for students to experience the application of professional values could lead to better appreciation and lifelong adaptation of professional and civic engagementt.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 1725301
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Carolyn Ebbens, Hilary Nuest, Caitlin Stevenson, Kristin E. Norris, Terry Loghmani, Peter Altenburger
  • Keywords: Professionalism|Civic Engagement|Social Responsibility

BACK to Abstract Results