Comparison of Student Performance after Short versus Long Final Clinical Education Experience

Purpose: Final clinical education experiences (CEs) vary in length across entry level physical therapist programs. There has been discussion about extending CEs to improve performance of new graduates but research evidence is lacking that compares student performance in final CEs of different lengths. The purpose of this report is to describe the outcomes of an 11-week versus a 27-week final CE within the same entry level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.Methods/Description: The clinical education curriculum was revised in 2011 to include a 27-week final CE. Subjects included 211 DPT students in four classes, each in the final year of an entry level program. Prior to the curriculum revision, Classes 2010 and 2011 (n=104) participated in three full-time CEs: 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 11 weeks for a total of 31 weeks. After the curriculum revision, Classes 2012 and 2013 (n=107) participated in two full-time CEs: 8 weeks and 27 weeks in length for a total of 35 weeks. All met the same admission criteria and the didactic curriculum was similar across the four years. The Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) Version 2006 was used to collect quantitative data with the 1-21 point scale (17=entry level) for each of the 18 clinical performance criteria.Ê Clinical instructor (CI) assessment and student self-assessment data at the end of the final CEs were aggregated and described. Box-and-whisker plots and frequency distributions for each CPI criterion were examined for differences between the two groups. National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE) mean scale scores of each class were compared to the national mean scale scores for the same year.Results/Outcomes: For both groups, the first quartile for each of the clinical performance criteria was 17 (entry level) by CI and self-assessment. CI assessment for students who participated in the 27-week CE showed an increase of at least one point in the third quartile for 12/18 criteria and higher medians for 7/18 criteria. Corresponding student self-assessment scores showed an increase of at least one point in the third quartile for 8/18 criteria and higher medians for 3/18. Students who participated in the 27-week CE had more scores beyond entry level (score ?18) for 17/18 criteria per CI assessment and 18/18 criteria per student self-assessment. The NPTE first-time mean scale score for Class 2010 was five points higher than the national mean scale score and Class 2011 was eight points higher, while the Class 2012 and 2013 were each 18 points higher.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education: The results of this study suggest a trend toward enhanced clinical performance with longer final CEs as measured by the CPI and NPTE. Student self-assessment scores suggest enhanced confidence after a longer final CE. Many DPT programs are exploring the value of longer CEs. Careful analysis and description of outcomes will be useful in assessing the efficacy of an extended final CE that may better prepare students to enter the profession.References: American Physical Therapy Association, Department of Accreditation. 2011-12 Fact Sheet: Physical Therapist Programs. Alexandria, VA: American Physical Therapy Association. http://www.apta.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=PT_Programs1&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=43471. Last Updated 3/14/2013. Accessed Sept ember 7, 2013. American Physical Therapy Association. Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument: Version 2006. American Physical Therapy Association: Alexandria, VA; 2008. McCallum CA, Mosher PD, Jacobson PJ, Gallivan SP, Giuffre SM. Quality in physical therapist clinical education: A systematic review. Phys Ther. Available ahead of print May 2, 2013: 2013;93(10):1-18; Accessed September 18, 2013. Portney LG, Knab MS. Implementation of a 1-year paid clinical internship in physical therapy. J Phys Ther Educ. 2001;15:31-35. Roach KE, Frost JS, Francis NJ, Giles S, Nordrum JT, Delitto A. Validation of the revised Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument (PT CPI): Version 2006. Phys Ther. 2012;92:416-428. Sass K,Ê Frank L, Thiele A, Newton AD, Bork B, Hartung S, Rosenbaum M. Physical therapy clinical educatorsÕ perspectives on students achieving entry-level clinical performance.Ê J Phys Ther Educ. 2011;25(3):46-52.

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  • Control #: 1990971
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: ELC2014
  • Authors: Susan S. Tomlinson, Janet Readinger, Rebecca Craik, James D. Tomlinson
  • Keywords:

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