Clinical Education: Revitalization and Redesign
Purpose: The purpose of this process was to identify and recognize when to seek external expertise through long term consultation, in a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) clinical education curriculum. Methods/Description: Data gathered in 2012-2013 by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) revealed that 45% of physical therapist (PT) education is spent in clinical education experiences. This distribution of clinical education (CE) content across the DPT curriculum suggests the importance of improving the quality of clinical education. In 2014, the Clinical Education Summit brought about recommendations to create positive CE cultures and partnerships, and to strengthen our profession, seeking a new and creative direction. As such, we sought to improve our overall DPT education through revitalization and redesign of our CE curriculum through long term consultation, in an effort to successfully implement a curriculum that meets the needs of all major stakeholders. Results/Outcomes: Data was collected from internal faculty, students, clinical partners, and community stakeholders through the use of DCE 360 assessments, student exit interviews, summit (a program community forum), advisory sessions, and student reflections. Results suggested that several needs were identified including: change in faculty, infrastructure, culture and leadership style. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The results indicated there was a hidden curriculum in our DPT program, one in which the organizational structure and culture had a significant impact on our students, faculty and clinical partnerships. In an effort to promote seamless coordination with the didactic portions of the curriculum, we sought external context expertise through a CE consultant, in order to strengthen the attitudes, values, and understandings of all stakeholders. Through the utilization of an external CE consultant we were able to successfully evaluate the program utilizing David Kern’s six step approach to developing a curriculum. Three major themes evolved: consultation, consultation and the CE team, and building relationships. Through consultation, we were able to perform a SWOT analysis, triage any immediate concerns, provide structured mentoring for faculty development, and provide infrastructure for a curricular revitalization. The need for a team approach in the CE curriculum became evident. The CE consultant facilitated a new structure including a team concept with new goals, in an effort to create a culture where CE is an integral part of the curriculum, while evaluating the overall program through faculty and students. The third theme that emerged allowed us to restore communication and dialogue within the community, clinical partners, alumni, students, and faculty. This was demonstrated through student reflection journals, surveys, and on-site clinical visits.