Resource Use By Dpt Students during Terminal Clinical Rotations: A Survey Study
Purpose/Hypothesis: Students in doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) programs are provided lecture notes, textbooks, research articles, and websites as resources. Increasingly, alternative resources are available such as blogs, social media, and podcasts. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education requires DPT programs include evidence-based practice (EBP) in their curricula. EBP is taught across healthcare programs, however student adoption and information literacy levels vary. Unfortunately, little is known about DPT student (SPT) resource use in clinical decision making. The purpose of this study was to examine the frequency, adoption type, and barriers and facilitators to SPT resource access during terminal clinical rotations. Number of Subjects: n=56 Materials and Methods: SPTs completed a 16-item paper survey 1 week following terminal clinical completion. The survey was developed with the goal of gaining information about types, frequency of use, and facilitators and barriers to resource use during DPT clinical rotations through forced choice, rank-order, and open-ended questions. Results: 39% of SPTs reported accessing resources 2-3 times per week followed by weekly (27%), daily (18%), multiple times per day (9%), and rarely/never (7%). The most frequent reason to access information was to better understand a diagnosis (34%), followed by to aid in choosing examination tools (32%), aid in appropriate interventions (24%), and understand medical management of a diagnosis (7%). When asked to rank types of resources accessed, SPTs most commonly asked (their) CI (76%). The resource used least was social media (46%). However, 37.5% reported using social media to gain PT-specific information, most commonly Instagram. Pubmed was the most frequently used research database. Within research literature, SPTs used systematic reviews/meta analyses/Cochrane reviews most frequently (41%) followed by traditional research articles (30%), clinical practice guidelines (24%), and opinion pieces/commentaries (4%). The most common facilitator was university library access followed by the clinical instructor (CI). 45% reported barriers to accessing resources, most commonly lack of time. Other barriers included lack of computer access, firewalls on clinic computers, and poor internet access. Conclusions: SPTs relied most heavily on CIs for information, but used other resources such as research literature while on clinical rotations. Information was sought most frequently to gain surface information but SPTs demonstrated emerging use of resources to gain deeper information. Although not a primary resource, SPTs reported using social media to support their clinical decision-making. Time was the greatest resource acquisition barrier, with university library access as the primary facilitator. Future research to better understand these preliminary findings and across sites is warranted. Clinical Relevance: Understanding student resource use during clinical rotations may give DPT faculty important information for assessing their current EBP curriculum and aide in informing future teaching and learning practices.