Using Progressive Interviews to Enhance Dpt Students' Understanding of Lived Experiences of Individuals with Disability
Purpose/Hypothesis: Understanding the lived experiences of individuals with disabilities is important for health professionals. In the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) course “Psychosocial Aspects of Physical Therapy,” students attended a panel discussion of individuals with spinal cord injury at a local rehabilitation center. Then, students worked in small teams to conduct a series of three progressive interviews with one panel member, to learn about that person’s experiences of living with a disability. Following the interviews, each student completed a reflection paper. The purpose of this current research was to describe students’ experiences and perceptions of involvement in progressive interviews with an individual with a disability. Based on student reflection papers, researchers aimed to 1) identify learning outcomes; 2) describe how this activity related to students’ future role as a physical therapist; and 3) compile student recommendations. Number of Subjects: A total of 44 DPT students participated in interviews in 2017 (n=23) or 2018 (n=21). Thirty students agreed to have their reflection paper included in this study. Materials and Methods: All current DPT students who participated in interviews in either 2017 or 2018 were emailed to participate in this study. Students provided informed consent to have their reflection paper included in analysis. Two researchers qualitatively analyzed the reflection papers using thematic analysis. Results: Three themes emerged regarding student-identified learning outcomes: 1) Initial injury and rehabilitation; 2) Learning to live with an acquired disability; and 3) Challenges and strategies for daily life. Students identified that participating in the progressive interviews related to their future career by learning about the importance of communication, quality of life, and collaborative partnership. Students reported that progressive interviews “allows the students to go from strangers to friends with their partner” and “allows for more openness and comfort with the conversation.” Students recommended that interviews should also include individuals with other acquired disabilities, and that at least one interview should be completed in a social setting. Conclusions: Participating in progressive interviews with an individual with a disability helped students achieve multiple learning outcomes. Future research should utilize further mixed methods to understand students’ and panel members’ perspectives of the value of progressive interviews. This activity may be expanded by including students from other health professions, thereby adding an interprofessional education component. Clinical Relevance: This research indicates that DPT students perceive participating in progressive interviews with individuals with disabilities as a positive and valuable experience. Using progressive interviews may help meet the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education requirement that DPT programs include learning experiences related to psychosocial aspects of health and disability, communication, and consideration of the patient/client perspective.