Survey of Perceptions of Physical Therapy Clinical Educators Participating in the Accelerated, Hybrid Learning Model
Purpose/Hypothesis: Hybrid physical therapist education combines online synchronous and asynchronous content delivery followed by intensive multi-week, hands-on laboratory experiences over two years. Given the unique design of such programs, questions on clinical preparedness exist. Clinical education is provided by practicing physical therapists who work with students from multiple physical therapy programs. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to assess the perceptions of clinical instructors related to preparedness of students educated in a two-year accelerated, hybrid model. Number of Subjects: 308 Materials and Methods: Clinical educators were identified based on their service in a clinical instructor role for students in the hybrid model. Of 332 individuals identified, twenty-four email addresses were defunct, rendering a total distribution to 308 participants. An anonymous 13-item survey was sent via email through Qualtrics to these individuals. Results: 92 surveys were completed for a response rate of 30%. On average, clinical instructors had practiced for 11 years, ± 9 years s.d. Clinicians reported mentoring a mean of 6 students. 51% identified themselves as APTA credentialed clinical instructors. Areas of practice included acute care, long term care, home health and skilled rehabilitation, outpatient neurologic, pediatric, orthopaedic, and sports physical therapy. When asked to compare students from the hybrid model and those from traditional models on the basis of foundational knowledge, basic skills, examination and evaluation skills, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, biopsychosocial aspects of patient care, clinical reasoning, communication, professionalism, and receiving feedback, across all domains, students engaged in hybrid education were perceived as no different, or in some cases better than, those in traditional programs. Conclusions: Preliminary data suggests clinical instructors perceive no difference in the preparedness of students educated in a two-year, accelerated hybrid model and those in traditional programs. Clinical Relevance: Physical therapist students educated in the two-year accelerated, hybrid model are perceived by their clinical instructors to be as prepared as students educated in traditional models. Preliminary findings support cost effective hybrid models in physical therapy education.