Effects of Participation in a Student-Run Pro-Bono Clinic on First-Year Dpt Students’ Clinical Confidence
Purpose/Hypothesis: Service learning related programs give Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students the opportunity to gain skills related to leadership, communication, critical thinking, and professionalism,1 and increase students satisfaction.2 The purpose of the present study is to explore self-efficacy and confidence levels DPT students’ gain from participating in a student run wellness program. We hypothesize that students who participate in the program will be more confident and better prepared for practicing in the clinic compared to those who do not participate in the Neurological Wellness Program. Number of Subjects: 21 Materials and Methods: Although 41 first year DPT students, mean age 24.51 years old (± 2.56 SD) were initially recruited only 21 students completed the study. Subjects self-selected whether to participate in the Wellness Program or to act as a control. Those who chose to participate worked alongside a senior student one hour, 1-2 days a week, for one year to develop and carry out a plan of care for clients with various neurological conditions. The students completed the Revised Self-Efficacy Survey3 prior to their start in the program and after each semester in the first year. Differences between the groups on the questions and differences in improvement self-efficacy and confidence were measured. The questionnaire was evaluated for reliability by having the students repeat the survey 2 weeks after the initial survey. Results: There were no significant differences in age, undergraduate major or volunteer hours between the groups at the start of the Neurological Wellness Program. No significant differences in the pre-program survey were found between groups although the non-participating group scored higher on the majority of questions. The questionnaire was found to be reliable, as there was no significant difference between pre and post survey scores in either the participant or non-participant groups. Although there were no significant differences in the question answers between the groups at any time frame, the participating group significantly increased their responses in 17/35 questions while the non-participating group only saw an increase in one. Conclusions: Students who participated in a student-run pro bono Neurological Wellness Program demonstrated improvement in their self-efficacy and confidence compared to those who did not participate. Clinical Relevance: Students who choose not to participate in a student run pro-bono clinic may believe they do not need the experience. However, they do not develop their self-efficacy and confidence in the same manner as those who participated. Conversely those who participated may have greater insight into their need to grow in confidence and skills. Thus, student run Neurological Wellness programs provide students with insight of their abilities and areas they need to improve upon. More research must be conducted to see the effects of longer participation in the program as well as Clinical Performance Instrument scores after the students complete their first clinical rotation.