Physical Therapy Student Experiences Regarding Problem-Based Learning and Development of Professional Core Values

Purpose: The problem-based learning (PBL) approach has been implemented in a number of health education programs including physical therapy.Ê Problem-based learning in physical therapy was designed to enrich exploration of issues involved in clinical decision making for individual or groups of patients, to understand how patient care is supported by other aspects of professional practice, and to develop examination, intervention and communication skills.Ê There is, however, a lack of research that examines the intentions of PBL curricula and studentsÕ perceptions of their development of professional core values as entry-level physical therapists. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand and interpret the meaning of studentsÕ experiences with developing the core values in a modified PBL curriculum.Methods/Description: A qualitative methodology (phenomenology) was used.Ê Twenty-four graduates participated in focus group interviews directly following commencement from the doctoral physical therapy program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.Ê ÊInterviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim.Ê Transcript data were analyzed using the constant comparison method for common themes.ÊResults/Outcomes: Findings revealed eleven themes that described studentsÕ development of core values within PBL program.Ê The themes were, 1) A New Way of Learning, 2) The Big Picture, 3) Patient-First, 4) Accountability, 5) Self-Reflection, 6) The Active Learner, 7) Confidence, 8) Communication, communication, communication, 9) WhereÕs the evidence?, 10) Teamwork, and 11) Faculty/Program Expectations.Ê An overarching theme of ÒtransformationÓ emerged; suggesting the embodiment of professionalism evolved over time during their academic journey and became part of their ÒbeingÓ as graduating therapists.Ê This transformation, from student to professional, was threaded throughout the emerging eleven themes and resonated among the participantsÕ reflections of the PBL curricular elements supporting this journey.Ê A visual representation entitled ÒBecoming a Professional Physical TherapistÓ was derived from the findings.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education: Previous studies in the health education literature highlight professionalism as a key attribute to the development of a successful clinician.Ê Physical therapy educational programs, regardless of curricular approach, aim to develop entry-level clinicians who demonstrate the concept of professionalism.Ê An understanding of the curricular experiences that contribute to the process of ÒbecomingÓ a professional can inform curricular development to facilitate this transformative process.Ê The studentsÕ description of what embodies a successful clinician includes being a professional, which is supported by the curricular elements of the PBL approach.Ê This information is the first step toward understanding how educators can support development of professional core values and graduate successful clinicians who continue to challenge professionalism standards in physical therapy practice.References: American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). (2003). Professionalism in physical therapy: Core values. Alexandria, Virginia. Holden, M., Buck, E., Clark, M., Szauter, K., & Trumble, J. (2012). Professional identity formation in medical education: The convergence of multiple domains. HEC Forum : An Interdisciplinary Journal on Hospitals' Ethical and Legal Issues, 24(4), 245-255. Krueger, R. A. & Casey, M.A. (2009). Focus groups : A practical guide for applied research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Lusardi, M. M., Levangie, P. K., & Fein, B. D. (2002). A problem-based learning approach to facilitate evidence-based practice in entry-level health professional education. Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics (JPO), 14(2), 40-50. Richards, L. & Morse, J.M. (2007). User's guide to qualitative methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Saarinen-Rahiika, H., & Binkley, J. M. (1998). Problem-based learning in physical therapy: A review of the literature and overview of the McMaster university experience. Physical Therapy, 78(2), 195-207; discussion 207-11. Ê

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 1992990
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: ELC2014
  • Authors: Michelle E. Wormley, Melissa M. Tovin, Michelle Lusardi, Stanley Wilson
  • Keywords:

BACK to Abstract Results