Self-Reported Evidence of Entry-Level Clinical Skill and Competency
Purpose/Hypothesis: The purposes of this project are to: 1) develop a tool for pre-graduation assessment of entry-level clinical performance of DPT students and 2) to determine if self-assessment can be used to supplement the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) data for reaccreditation reporting. Number of Subjects: Forty-five students in a DPT Class of 2018 (22) and a DPT Class of 2019 (23) completed the survey prior to graduation. Materials and Methods: An 11-item Qualtrics Survey was developed by a seminar course director for students in the final spring semester of a three-year, entry-level DPT program. The survey was an anonymous, ungraded assignment on the course Black Board Learning Platform that included 10 questions in 5-point Likert scale format and one question regarding amount of personal debt for completion of clinical affiliations. According to CAPTE PT Standards and Required Elements for Accreditation, graduates of DPT programs must demonstrate entry-level clinical performance prior to graduation (Standard 1C 4). Likert scales are a commonly used survey technique to collect ordinal data, measure quality, and assess attitudes. The neutral item, ‘neither agree nor disagree’ was placed at the end of the scale instead of at the mid-point to avoid pushing respondents toward either extreme on the scale. Results: All respondents strongly agreed (50.0%) or somewhat agreed (50.0%) that they were prepared to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). There was strong agreement that participation in a student run clinic improved confidence level on the final clinical internship (88.0 %). Over half of all respondents either strongly agreed (17.0%) or agreed (41.2%) that complex case presentations to peers and faculty demonstrated entry-level patient management competency. Responses were widely varied regarding: personal debt for clinical internship experiences; number, length and sequencing of full-time clinical internships; utility of seminar assignments; plans to become clinical instructors; plans to pursue specialty clinical practice; required practice settings; and quality of supervision and feedback from credentialed clinical instructors. Conclusions: Results support the use of short Qualtrics surveys to determine percent agreement and disagreement with determinants of entry-level skill for DPT students prior to graduation and initial licensure. In the future we plan to correlate the self-reported data in the survey with the CPI. Clinical Relevance: The survey can be used to support CAPTE Standard 6L 1-4 for type, organization, sequencing, and integration of clinical education experiences and Standard 1C 4 entry-level clinical competency. Self-reported evidence of entry-level skill is also a useful assessment tool for program evaluation.