An Innovative Approach to Educating Physical Therapy Students in a Geriatric Community

Purpose : A rising percentage of older adults in the United States are 65 years and older and many will require health care in settings where it is increasingly difficult to educate physical therapy students. This is particularly true in settings where resource limitations include insufficient professional staff, increasing demands on staff for productivity, fewer clinicians that are willing to serve as clinical instructors, and reimbursement regulations that are viewed as impeding student placements and learning in these settings. One strategy for maximizing use of limited resources for clinical education is the pairing of students during physical therapy internships. Use of the peer-learning model affords Òwin-winÓ opportunities for both the educational and geriatric health care communities when clinical and academic faculty form active partnerships to maximize utilization of available resources.Description : A partnership among the Director of Clinical Education (DCE), clinical instructor (CI) and administrators at a geriatric care community was formed to develop physical therapy student internships in an outpatient clinic. Needs identified by the clinical site for a successful internship included: assuring that all supervision and reimbursement regulations for Medicare were met, that the CI met institutional standards for productivity, and the clinical environment could provide students with opportunities to meet a variety of learning objectives and performance expectations. The needs identified by the educational program for a successful internship included: learning in the presence of geriatric patients, regular and timely feedback on performance by the clinical instructor, and learning that would be as deep and salient as that found in all clinical education sites. Subsequently, elements of this peer-learning model were developed by the DCE and an experienced clinical instructor that included: use of a 2:1 model for student supervision, a geriatric curriculum, and explicit expectations for peer learning, peer assessment, and teamwork.Summary of Use : The 2:1 model of student supervision was highly effective and fit well within the Medicare supervision guidelines, allowing the CI to remain as the treating PT, while students participated in care delivered to patients. Students met or exceeded performance expectations in 12 and 20 week rotations with satisfaction that was high among students, the CI and patients. Peer-learning is a sustainable method for maximizing utilization of dwindling resources in geriatric care settings while advancing learning among physical therapy students during clinical rotations.Importance to Members: Deep learning is facilitated when peer learners have the opportunity to exchange ideas, engage in critical observation, and discuss different perspectives on their experiences with each other and their clinical instructor. Physical therapy clinical and academic faculty should strengthen partnerships with clinical sites to develop and support collaborative learning models.

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  • Control #: 1727185
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Corrie Odom, Stephanie Rogers
  • Keywords: Peer-learning|Clinical education |Geriatric

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