Assessing Physical Therapy Knowledge Among New Graduates in Saudi Arabia: Competency Examination across the Nation
Purpose/Hypothesis: Despite the increased number of physical therapy graduates in Saudi Arabia, their competency in various clinical skills has not been clarified. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the knowledge of Saudi physical therapy graduates in patient examination, evaluation, and plan of care. Number of Subjects: A total of 398 Saudi physical therapists were approached, and 149 physical therapists were analyzed. Materials and Methods: A competency examination was adapted from 2 prominent study guides of the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in the United States. Seventy Questions were randomly selected by 2 individuals familiar with content of physical therapy programs in the United States and Saudi Arabia. The content outline of the selected questions followed the NPTE recommendations for body systems and nonsystems. The questions were entered into an electronic examination platform. Each question has 4 multiple choices. The examination was distributed electronically. For inclusion, participants had to be graduate of a physical therapy program in Saudi Arabia, be in their internship year or within 6 months of graduation. Each participant was give 90 minutes to complete the examination. The passing score was set at 55%. Results: The average passing score was 34% (Range 3% - 50%). The questions related to screening, assessment, and intervention had scores of 36%, 38% and 34%, respectively. In the primary domains of body systems the score was highest in the neuromuscular domain (40%), followed by the musculoskeletal domain (31%), and the cardiovascular (27%). In the nonsystem, professionalism had the highest score (88%). Conclusions: The knowledge of physical therapy graduates in Saudi Arabia about patient examination, evaluation and plan of care appears very low. Clinical Relevance: Strategies to improve entry-level clinical skills should be deployed. These strategies can include updating curriculum and transitioning into doctor of physical therapy programs.