Improvement to Physical Therapy Student Clinical Education Program

Purpose/Hypothesis : To evaluate physical therapist studentsÕ (SPT) clinical rotation within the Marianjoy network and identify factors associated with a higher quality learning experience. This quality improvement project investigated the skills and knowledge of both the student intern and clinical instructor (CI) using the APTA Student Clinical Experience Survey.Number of Subjects : 64 SPTMaterials/Methods : The survey was completed by SPTÕs at the completion of their clinical rotation. An analysis of the qualitative portion of three open-ended questions was conducted. Response categories were developed based upon the APTA Professional Behaviors document. Three physical therapists (PT) independently coded the open-ended questions for the content analysis. If a discrepancy was present, a discussion occurred until a consensus was reached.Results : The survey was completed by 64 SPTÕs from 18 different programs. The length of clinical rotations ranged from 4-15 weeks with an average of 9.4 weeks. There were 29 CIÕs with the mean experience of 12.32 years. 71.4% were APTA members and 38% were APTA credentialed CIs. For content analysis, 199 responses were coded for qualities and skills required for success at the clinical site (question 17). The following were identified: academic skills/knowledge (47%); effective use of time and resources (18%); interpersonal skills (11%); communication (8.5%); commitment to learning (6%); use of constructive feedback (5%); responsibility (4%); critical thinking (1.5%); problem solving (1%); stress management (1%), and professionalism (0%). SPTÕs suggested ways that future students improve their clinical experience (question 19), 82 responses were coded and include the following: review course work prior to clinical (50%); observe in other areas (17%); take advantage of opportunities (8.5%); ask questions/listen (8.5%); be flexible (6%); consult with other therapists (3.6%); prepare nightly (2.4%); take ownership of caseload (2.4%); and apply clinical skills (1.2%). The SPTÕs had 91 responses relating to the actions of the CI that contributed to a positive learning environment (question 25) and are as follows: provide other learning opportunities (23%); balance independence/guidance (16.5%), answer/ask questions (15.3%), open to new ideas (14.2%), provide feedback (11%), hands-on learning (8%), and CIÕs personality (10%).Conclusions : Results of the content analysis revealed almost half of the SPTÕs responses were related to their previous academic knowledge necessary for a successful clinical rotation. Professional behaviors were not reported as frequently. SPTÕs reported the value of observing other therapists. Based on the results, professional behavior seminars and formalized observation schedules were introduced into the student program to enhance both clinical and professional behaviors.Clinical Relevance : Results revealed the importance of ongoing assessment of the student program to better prepare all stakeholders in this learning process.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 1726019
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Emily S. Becker, Paula Eppenstein, Laurn King, Susan Brady
  • Keywords: student program|clinical education|clinical instructor

BACK to Abstract Results