Professional socialization for physical therapy students begins with faculty in the classroom setting. Page (2007) defines professional socialization as “the acquisition of values, attitudes, skills and knowledge pertaining to a professional subculture.”(pg. 167) While skills to provide appropriate and effective treatment are necessary for achieving success during a clinical, it is important that students are able to respond appropriately when it comes to professional behavior with patients and coworkers. To ensure development in professional socialization occurs, students need to have guidance from clinical instructors and faculty.
The first clinical is often the most stressful for a physical therapy student. Bartlett, Lucy, Bisbee & Conti-Becker (2009) identified that physical therapy students often feel emotional during their first clinical. In their study, first year students identified feeling “awestruck, compassionate, empathetic, elated, fortunate, gratified, proud, and relieved as well as feeling angry, awful, embarrassed, frustrated, helpless, indifferent, nervous, sad, shaken up, shocked, and overwhelmed.” (pg. 19) Exposing students to professional scenarios prior to their initial clinical experience through an active learning approach with guided reflection is a useful tool for faculty to relay useful management strategies.
It is imperative that students are competent in clinical skills prior to beginning their clinical. The “Clin Ed Minute” is a role play of challenging clinical experiences provided by faculty. The role playing creates an environment that engages the students in understanding interactions in the clinic and how they relate to challenging situations. The topics for the role play assist in creating a realistic experience to encourage discussion and problem solving among faculty and students.
At the start of each year, the DCE, Assistant DCE and faculty for the Healthcare System and Policy course sequence meet to discuss issues reported by clinicians, students or faculty members .Utilizing vignettes and dramatized scenarios, faculty are able to draw students’ attention to matters involving studen behavior and actions that either uphold professionalism, or fail to meet expected standards.
The benefit noted through use of this presentation is that students immediately recognize the issues of concern and engage in meaningful discussion more readily as compared with completing assignments in preparation for in-class dialogue. The " Clinical Ed Minute" promotes engagement and willingness to interact through reflection and conversation.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education
: Students and faculty work cooperatively to pursue excellence in Physical Therapy education by first dramatizing pertinent reality-based clinical situations, then dissecting and reflecting on them. Students are able to build an inventory of acceptable behavioral responses to challenging circumstances while simultaneously become aware of APTA policy and position statements on current topics.
Page, G. Professional socialization of valuers: Program directors perspective. International Education Journal. 2007; 8(2): 167-175.
Bartlett, D.J., Lucy, S.D., Bisbee, L., & Conti-Becker, A. Understanding the professional socialization of Canadian physical therapy students: A Qualitative Investigation. Physiotherapy Canada. 2009; 61(1): 15-25.