Driving Professional Identity Formation Through a Unique Academic-Clinical Partnership Model
Professional identity formation is a key aspect of physical therapist development. While coursework emphasizes professionalism, experiential learning is an essential component of professional formation. During clinical education experiences, students are challenged to apply their knowledge and skills while developing their moral sensibility. The current approach to clinical education places an emphasis on minimum competency and productivity, leaving little room for the development of professional identity. Additionally, current clinical instructor (CI) training does not emphasize the CI's role in professional formation. Upon graduation, stress and dissonance in the clinical environment can disrupt novice clinicians' continued professional identity evolution. For clinical education to truly impact professional formation, academic programs and clinical sites must have a shared culture that emphasizes professional identity development. The speakers will describe how one academic program and a large, national outpatient practice collaborated to implement a clinical mentorship program focused on professional formation. Attendees will hear academic program, clinical site, and student perspectives on the benefits and challenges in developing and implementing this unique experience. Presenters will discuss outcomes in student learning, patient care, and clinical culture, and attendees will gain an appreciation of how academic-clinical collaborations can be structured for a truly symbiotic partnership.