Student Physical Therapists' Interest in, and Perceived Benefits and Barriers of Participating in APTA Residency and Fellowship Programs: A National Survey

Purpose/Hypothesis : The purpose of this study was to investigate DPT students' across the country to determine their level of awareness and interest in residency and fellowship education. Furthermore, to gain knowledge about why students choose a residency or fellowship program, and to investigate the perceived benefits and barriers regarding their participation in residency and fellowship training.Number of Subjects : 650Materials/Methods : Participants were recruited through the DCEÕs and ADCE's at multiple entry-level PT programs across the U.S. A recruitment letter was emailed to DCEÕs and ADCEÕs introducing the study and inviting them to send it to their currently enrolled 3rd year DPT students. The 23-item survey was uploaded to an online survey software program. Survey questions were related to participant demographics, level of awareness, knowledge of, and interest in post-professional residency and fellowship education, and the perceived benefits and barriers of attending either type of program. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate frequencies and percentages.Results : The majority of respondents were between the ages of 24 and 27. When asked to select their expected areas of practice after graduation, the most frequent response was orthopedics, followed by neurology, sports, geriatrics, and finally pediatrics. The majority of participants reported they had received information about residency and fellowship programs as part of their DPT curriculum. Family obligations, unwillingness to relocate, lack of information about programs, lack of programs available in their specialty area and school burnout were cited as significant barriers in participating in a program. The majority of respondents selected opportunity to develop expert clinical skills, opportunity to become a board-certified specialist, professional mentorship, increased confidence, networking, and research opportunities as the most valuable benefits of completing a program.The factors identified by students that most impacted their decision to apply included location of the program and salary.Conclusions : Although the majority of students in entry level physical therapy programs are aware of the opportunities of residency and fellowship programs, fewer are actually interested in participating in a program after completing their doctoral degree. This research suggests that all entry level physical therapy programs should raise the degree of education regarding these opportunities and inform students about the pros and cons of participating in a residency or fellowship program. Students may benefit from specific and accurate information related to program curriculums, program salaries, and loan deferment while completing postprofessional studies.Clinical Relevance : With this information, students will be able to make educated decisions related to the incentives and barriers regarding participation in residency and fellowship programs.

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  • Control #: 2018101
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Anne E. O'Donnell, Katrina Spinnato
  • Keywords: residency and fellowship|physical therapy|incentives and barriers

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