Clinical experiences are an invaluable part of the curricula of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The real-life practice the students receive depends greatly on the skill and commitment of the clinical educators. The Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Sports Therapy (CCRST) clinical education leadership team, which consists of PTs, PTAs, OTs COTAs, SLPs, and ATs, has observed a decline in clinicians agreeing to take students over the past several years. The number of students placed in 2014 was 253, and in 2018, only 217. While there is some literature that has looked into motivators and barriers to clinical instructors agreeing in taking students, the results in these studies did not correlate to the practice settings at CCRST. A survey questionnaire was sent to all practicing clinicians at CCRST to questioning the perceived benefits and barriers, to determine strategies to promote the clinicians to accept more student placements. The purpose of this presentation is to share the information found from the survey, and to share strategies developed to encourage clinical educators to accept more students.
A survey questionnaire, using Select Survey was emailed to clinicians. Clinicians included: physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapist assistants, speech language pathologists, recreational therapists, and athletic trainers. There was a total of 487 respondents (84 OT, 1 COTA, 285 PT, 42 PTA, 57 SLP, 25 AT, 3 RT)
There was just under a 50% response rate, with 66% of respondents being outpatient, and 34% being in-patient clinical staff. Years of experience did not seem to make a difference in responses, with only 47% of staff agreeing to take one student per year, and 16% agreeing to take more than one student per year. Only 17% of respondents felt comfortable taking a first clinical experience, and 73% wanted either a second or fourth clinical experience student. Fifty-one percent of the respondents requested having a student for 9-12 weeks. Thematic barriers found were: productivity concerns, time required to complete performance grading tool, concern that student may have clinical performance issues, and in the perceived need that being a clinical educator will require extra work hours. Perceived benefits included: enhanced knowledge, professional duty, and enjoyment in teaching.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:
The results of the survey have provided information for the clinical education leadership team to work on strategies to decrease the barriers, and to improve the benefits in taking a student to the clinical educators at CCRST. Educational offerings and fliers highlighting the benefits, and dispelling some of the perceived barriers may be a method to improve accepting more students. Clinical Relevance: The need for placing students continues to grow. Productivity standards across health systems places extra burden on clinicians. The results of this survey have shown that many of the barriers may be decreased through education to the clinical educators, and that promoting the benefits may be able to encourage to the clinical educators to take more students.