In the Case of Service Learning: What Did it Really Matter? Ê

Purpose: Many physical therapy programs incorporate international service learning (ISL) opportunities in their curricula with the purpose of providing transformative learning experiences for their students. When students return home, many report they are changed for the better because of their ISL experiences. While these opportunities have the potential to provide life-changing transformation, we must ask whether the transformation is sustainable as students move into the professional practice phase of their careers. ÊWhat happens years later whenÊthe ISL experience has become a distant memory? The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of an ISL experience on professional physical therapists 5-7 years after their first ISL experience. ÊDo the participants still feel as passionate about their ISL experience and the Êlessons learned after time has passed? ÊMethods/Description: A tracer study utilizing semi-structured interviews was conducted to investigate the long-term influence of an ISL experience among 12 physical therapists who graduated from three Midwestern DPT programs in the United States of America. Participants were recruited from a previous ethnographic study which investigated the participantsÕ first ISL experience as student physical therapists. The participants in this study spent at least 2 weeks abroad and were interviewed 5-7 years after their initial ISL experience. ÊSemi-structured interviews were conducted via SkypeTM and Facetime.TM Interviews were transcribed and provided thick, rich descriptions on the influence of that first ISL experience on the professional development of these physical therapists. Member checking determined that interviews were transcribed correctly before data were analyzed. The data were analyzed by the researchers to examine common themes which emerged from the interviews and then coded into categories.Results/Outcomes: Participants reported that they gained a broader perspective of patient care as a result of their ISL experience. They continued to think deeply about the ISL experience now 5-7 years later. Participants believed they experienced personal and professional growth. They reported less fear, greater cultural awareness, improved creativity, and confidence in patient care. Participants described having greater courage to advocate for patients and health disparitiesÊas new professionals. Participants felt their ISL experience continued to influence their personal, professional, and political community engagement. They provided social responsibility action plans initiated since becoming new physical therapists linking this engagement to their ISL experience.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education: It appears that ISL experiences have transformative potential that continues long after the initial experience is over. These experiences may last 5-7 years into a new graduateÕs professional life. Implications for the profession of physical therapy education suggests that ISL experiences provide ongoing professional development through ongoing reflection and action. ÊReferences: American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2003 Professionalism in physical therapy: Core values. Available at: http://www.apta.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Areas_of_Interest&CONTENTID=41460&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm. Accessed April 27, 2010. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Guide to Physical Therapy Practice. Revised 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA; 2003b.Ê Ê American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2004 A normative model of physical therapist professional education: Version 2004. Available at: http://www.calstate.edu/app/dpt/documents/TOC.pdf. Accessed November 2, 2013. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2010 Resource guide for international service-learning in physical therapy education programs. 4th Edition. Available at: http://www.aptahpa.org/associations/9956/files/Resource_Guide_for%20ISL_in_PT_Education_Programs_4.18.11.pdf. Accessed June 10, 2011. Ê American Physical Therapy Association Global Health Special Interest Group (APTA GH SIG) 2010 Resource guide for international clinical education in physical therapist education programs. Available at: http://www.aptahpa.org/associations/9956/files/Resource_Guide_for_ICE_in_PT_Education_Programs_4.18.11.pdf. Accessed June 10, 2011. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2013 Vision Statement for the Physical Therapy Profession Available at: http://www.apta.org/Vision/ Accessed November 15, 2013. Ê Bridges DR, Carlson J, Tomkowiak J 2010 Service learning in interprofessional education: A case study. Journal of Physical Therapy Education 24(1):44-53. Boyer E Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate New York: Jossey Bass, 1997. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 2010 Educating nurses and physicians: toward new horizons advancing inter-professional education in academic health centers Josiah Macy JR. Foundation Conference Summary 1-19. Ê Fries K, Bowers DM, Gross M, Frost L 2013 Service learning in Guatemala: using qualitative content analysis to explore an interdisciplinary learning experience among students in health care professional programs.Ê Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 6:45-52. 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  • Control #: 1996114
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: ELC2014
  • Authors: Susan G. Klappa, Julie A. Thompson
  • Keywords:

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