Clinical Education Summit Strategic Initiatives: Updates and Ideas


The purpose of this session is to present the findings to date of the three post-summit strategic initiative panels of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) and engage participants in roundtable discussion to gain feedback on progress made by the panels, helping shape future recommendations to the ACAPT Board of Directors.

Methods and/or Description of Project

In October 2014, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT), in collaboration with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and the Education Section of APTA hosted a Clinical Education Summit. The report from the Summit contained 15 recommendations that were later prioritized by the ACAPT Board of Directors and integrated into the organization’s strategic plan.

Based on the prioritization, ACAPT developed three Strategic Initiative Panels to address the following topics: integrated clinical education; assessment of student readiness; and common terminology for physical therapy education.

The summit related recommendations and charges for each strategic initiative panel are as follows.

Integrated Clinical Education

Summit Recommendation: All programs will offer goal oriented, diverse active learning experiences that are developed in collaboration with invested stakeholders and embedded within the didactic curriculum, prior to terminal experiences.

Charge: The ACAPT Integrated Clinical Education Strategic Initiative Panel will develop a recommendation for implementation of integrated clinical education as a component of physical therapist education. The specific charge to this working panel is:

Define ‘integrated clinical education’
Make recommendations for achieving consistent use of the term ‘integrated clinical education’ across ACAPT, APTA and CAPTE
Discern and describe models of integrated clinical education that currently exist within physical therapist curricula
Define baseline expectations and parameters for quality integrated clinical education in physical therapist education
Develop guidelines for collaborative development and implementation of integrated clinical experiences

Student Readiness

Summit Recommendation: Develop a requisite core set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional behaviors to move into early, intermediate, and final full-time clinical experiences.

Charge: The ACAPT Student Readiness Strategic Initiative Panel will identify and define a core set of competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional behaviors) that are to be demonstrated by students prior to the first full-time clinical education experience. The specific charge to this working panel is:
Investigate and describe models of competency assessment used across other health professions
Propose two format options for establishing competencies to the board membership
Collect broad-based, representative data on minimum competency expectations from the physical therapy practice community
Once a preferred model is selected and minimum competencies are identified, propose baseline expectations and criteria for minimum competencies that must be met within the academic program by student prior to progressing into full-time clinical education experiences
Develop guidelines for academic programs to implement these competency requirements within their curriculum

Common Terminology

Summit Recommendation: Academic and clinical faculty will develop, disseminate, use, and periodically review standard terminology and definitions for physical therapy education (As a model, think the National Medical Library’s MeSH Single acceptable, resource).

Charge: The ACAPT Common Terminology Panel will develop common terminology related to clinical education. This work may also result in templates and models to support clinical education, such as placement request forms and student information forms. This recommendation also relates to other recommendations defining different aspects of clinical education. The specific charge to this working panel is:
Investigate and identify all current sources of terminology related to clinical education by inviting participation of the NCCE, APTA Education Section and Special Interest Groups, CAPTE, and other groups
Review all current support documents – CAPTE, CPI, the Guide, and other related documents
Consider templates and models to support clinical education such as placement request forms and student information forms
Recommend other items for consideration related to a common terminology’
Develop guidelines for implementation of the proposed terminology

The work of the panels was initiated in February of 2016 during initial meetings held at the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) and all panels are charged to present findings no later than the Education Leadership Conference in 2017.


As a first step, each panel is conducting a systematic review or focused literature review in their area of development. These findings will be presented. The following are the goals of these reviews:

Integrated clinical education – to investigate the different types of integrated clinical experiences, patient experiences, probono experiences, and simulation being used within the academic programs of several healthcare disciplines in an attempt to define the term ‘integrated clinical education’ within physical therapist education.

Student readiness – to examine the minimal skills in different domains that various health professions require of their students and how they are assessed.

Common terminology - to identify definitions reported in the literature and in APTA documents that are integral to physical therapy clinical education infrastructure.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education

The Clinical Education Summit was designed to advance collaboration and consensus building among the profession’s academic programs about the provision of clinical education with a goal of establishing best practices in physical therapist clinical education. Summit participants developed a shared vision and a series of recommendations to make this vision a reality.

The vision, as stated in the final report from the summit is:
‘Clinical education in physical therapy will have a common culture of teaching and learning based in strong partnerships with shared responsibility for preparing all students to enter and progress through their clinical education experiences prepared for practice.’

Both the vision and the resultant 15 recommendations are directly aimed at excellence in physical therapy education with a focus on the all-important clinical education component of the entry-level degree educational process.


American Council of Academic Physical Therapy Clinical Education Summit Report and Recommendations.

Jette DU, Nelson L, Palaima M, Weterbee E. How Do We Improve Quality in Clinical Education? Examination of Structures, Processes, and Outcomes. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 6-12

Hakim EW, Moffat M, Becker E, Bell KA, Manal TJ, Schmitt LA, Ciolek C. Application of Educational Theory and Evidence in Support of an Integrated Model of Clinical Education. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 13-21

Rapport MJ, Kelly MK, Hankin TR, Rodriguez JW, Tomlinson SS. Shared Vision for Clinical Education: The Year-Long Internship. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 22-29

Applebaum D, Portney LG, Kolosky L, McSorley O, Olimpio D, Pelletier D, Zupkus M. Building Physical Therapist Education Networks. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 30-38

McCullum CA, Mosher PD, Howman J, Engelhard C, Euype S, Cook CE. Development of Regional Core Networks for the Administration of Physical Therapist Clinical Education. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 39-47

Recker-Hughes C, Wetherbee E, Buccieri KM, Timmerberg JF, Stolfi AM. Essential Characteristics of Quality Clinical Education Experiences: Standards to Facilitate Student Learning. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 48-55

Deusinger SS, Crowner BE, Burlis TL, Stith JS. Meeting Contemporary Expectations for Physical Therapists: Imperatives, Challenges, and Proposed Solutions for Professional Education. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014; 28: 56-61

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this session the participant will be able to:

Discuss literature relevant to integrated clinical education, clinical education competencies, and clinical education common terminology.

Describe the progress made to date by the ACAPT post-summit strategic initiative panels.

Realize the importance of collaboration in the development of recommendations to advance clinical education.

Recommend future directions to the ACAPT panels based on information provided.

Instructional Methods

The session will include presentation of findings from the systematic reviews or focused literature reviews followed by round table discussions with active participant engagement in review and discussion of the preliminary findings or recommendations from each panel.

Tentative Outline/Schedule

Opening / Introduction

Panel Presentations: (3)
Panel charge and objectives
Presentation of findings from systematic or focused literature review
Presentation of initial findings or recommendations

Roundtable discussions: (3-6 depending on attendance)
Facilitated discussion of panel findings or recommendations

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  • Control #: 2520272
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2016
  • Authors: Dr. Shawne Soper, Dr. Mia Erickson, Dr. Jean Timmerberg, Christine McCallum, Ellen Wetherbee-McDevitt, Jamie Bayliss
  • Keywords:

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