To What Extent Does the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Influence Tolerance for Ambiguity?

Purpose/Hypothesis : The American Physical Therapy Association has defined core values including accountability, altruism, compassion, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility. Among these core values, the definition of excellence includes demonstrating a tolerance for ambiguity. The purpose of this preliminary, cross sectional program evaluation was to characterize the tolerance for ambiguity, need for closure, intolerance for uncertainty, and curiosity across three years of students at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.Number of Subjects : A total of 106 DPT students including first, second, and third year students were convenience sampled from the UTHSCSA DPT program.Materials/Methods : Student participants were surveyed using a battery of scales to measure tolerance to uncertainty and ambiguity consisting of: the Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale (MSTAT-II), Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS-12), Curiosity and Exploratory Scale (CEI-II), Attitudes Beliefs and Experience Survey (ABE), and Physical Therapist Reaction to Uncertainty Scale (PTRU). Mean scores and standard deviation were computed and an ANOVA was used to find significant difference. A Pearson correlation coefficient was used to determine correlations between each scale.Results : Only one significant difference (p=.015) was found in the MSTAT-II scale with the second year students. The MSTAT-II and the CEI-II scales were found to have a moderate correlation (r=.39). Additionally the ABE and IUS were also found to have moderate correlation (r=.31).Conclusions : Based on the results, it is difficult to determine if the UTHSCSA DPT program significantly influences students' tolerance for ambiguity. The study's findings may have been associated with the characteristics of the subjects themselves, or program influence. Further research is warranted to determine if gender, age, specialty, clinical experience, exposure to unpredictable situations in the classroom, and course structure influence ambiguity tolerance among DPT students. It is important to assess DPT program curricula to determine if it is possible for students to develop ambiguity tolerance during the educational phase.Clinical Relevance : In order to remain aligned with the changing health care system, it is imperative for health professional programs to properly prepare students to manage the needs of complex patients. Once further research is conducted, DPT programs may develop various methods to better prepare students for ambiguous situations involving patients with complex conditions and comorbidities.

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  • Control #: 2017719
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Maureen J. Simmonds, Michael A. Geelhoed, Jacquis Lagura, Lorena Lopez, Jacqueline Rincon
  • Keywords: Physical Therapy Students|Tolerance of Ambiguity|Excellence

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