Utilizing a Fall Prevention Program to Enhance Student Learning and Professional Growth

Purpose: The purpose of this service-learning project was to: 1) reduce falls in the Las Vegas, Nevada community by implementing the Stepping On fall prevention program and 2) to investigate the effect of planning and implementing a service learning project (SLP) on physical therapy (PT) students’ education and professional development. We hoped to add to the evidence and increase awareness of the efficacy of Stepping On as a community-based resource to decrease falls in this at-risk population. As the first PT student group at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to implement Stepping On as a service to the community, we also sought to build relationships with neighboring healthcare providers to make projects like this more feasible for future SLPs. Description: Under the supervision of a faculty advisor, four PT students from UNLV planned and organized this SLP, became certified leaders of Stepping On, recruited and screened older adults using the STEADI fall risk screening tool, and facilitated the program at a local community hospital. Twenty-one older adult participants attended at least one session and 15 participants completed the program by attending at least five of seven sessions. Students facilitated group discussion and instructed the exercises outlined in Stepping On. Student growth was determined based on written self-reflection at four points throughout the project and analyzed for common themes involving the seven APTA core professional values. Summary of Use: In addition to the use of Stepping On to reduce falls in the community, it is also a valuable tool in PT education programs with the ability to enhance students’ development of professional values and independent learning. While development of all seven APTA core values were recognized in student reflections over the course of the project, four common themes emerged: compassion/caring, excellence, accountability, and social responsibility. Importance to Members: In harmony with previous research, we found implementation of SLPs to be beneficial for students’ professional growth within their field of practice. Educators and students can use fall prevention programs such as Stepping On as a SLP to help students apply didactic knowledge, gain experience working with patients, and grow in many areas of professionalism all while serving the community and positively impacting the health of society.

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  • Control #: 24520
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM 2020
  • Authors: Jeremy Nordfelt
  • Keywords:

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