Transformative learning: Cognitive-affective outcomes of a practicum embedded in a pediatrics course.

Background & Purpose : Achieving lifespan awareness and family-centered sensitivity in entry-level DPT education is a challenge, given an overarching outcome of generalist preparation. We report here on the design and outcomes of a practicum unit that addresses this challenge. The purpose of this report is to describe cognitive and affective outcomes of a pediatric practicum embedded in a required pediatrics course during the final 4 weeks of student didactic education.Case Description : The practicum unit employed a modified problem-based learning approach to guide student experience in working with children and families. Teams of students were paired with an adolescent (with an autism spectrum diagnosis) . A ÒproblemÓ related to this young personÕs activity and participation was identified by the family and drove a 3-step iterative process wherein each student team was required to ask and reflect on what was known, what needed to be known, and how best to test hypotheses and apply their knowledge at each step of working with the young person and family. Community-based solutions, supportive of individual and family strengths, were required. Individual and team reflections reinforced the critical thinking and affective learning that were objectives of this unit.Outcomes : Outcomes for 4 classes of entry-level DPT students (N=81, n=17-24) are reported based on student and team self-reflections. 93% reported the largest impact of the unit was in seeing the whole patient rather than focusing on impairments alone; 87% reported understanding the value of family-centered care and the emotional life-long experience of the family; 83% reported becoming aware that ÒhowÓ things are said is important; 81% reported that they will use a strengths-based approach to clinical practice. Student teams reported learning to value working as a team in patient care, as well as value slowing down and reflecting rather than prematurely connecting impairments to treatment before they saw the full person. Transfer of learning to clinical internships was evident to students.Discussion : The 4-week practicum unit reported provides a model of cognitive- affective learning that is a short investment of time with a large impact on student preparation for clinical practice. The location of this experience in the final four weeks of didactic education supported studentsÕ synthesis of learning across all coursework, using a context of patients with pediatric onset diagnoses to achieve this outcome. The iterative model of reflective process that anchored this experience promoted reflective practice at a critical pre-internship stage of DPT development. The family-centered design of this unit allowed students to experience real-world challenges for the whole family, which engaged the students in understanding the root causes of issues that arise with home programs and community access. We propose that this is a model that could be easily replicated by other programs.

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  • Control #: 2026874
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Margaret Dietrich, Ann Dietrich, Victoria A. Moerchen
  • Keywords: Pediatrics|Practicum|cognitive-affective learning

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