A Leadership Development Model Connecting Education and Clinical Environments


Healthcare reform has created complex challenges that command effective leadership on every organizational level of the healthcare system.1–4 Leadership capacity can be developed when learners are provided with didactic knowledge, self-assessment, practice, mentoring and a developmental plan.5–7 The School of Physical Therapy has constructed a leadership development model from the leadership framework described in Kouzes and Posners’8 book,The Leadership Challenge. The aim is to produce graduates who show evidence of strong leadership and who provide lifelong contributions to the profession, community and society. Experiential learning can provide learners with opportunities to practice and receive feedback while developing leadership skills related to inspiring a vision and leading change. The stakeholders have embarked on this pilot study to provide guidance on how leadership can be developed simultaneously in clinical instructors and entry-level DPT students during clinical internships.


The Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI)9 is a tool that assesses leadership practices consistent with Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Model. The LPI is recognized as having the highest rating for psychometric properties.9 The LPI was administered to two DPT students and two clinical instructors before and after an 8-week clinical experience. The LPI Self raw scores were calculated and compared to established normative data.10
The clinical site was chosen because of their shared vision with the educational institute to develop leaders and innovators whose values are exemplified in everyday practice.11 Prior to the start of the clinical experience, the student and clinician used the results from the LPI Self for self reflection and the creation of a leadership development plan. During the second week of the clinical experience, the clinicians and students developed collaborative leadership goals. The Leadership Challenge textbook and the Leadership Challenge mobile App were used as resources to assist with creating experiences that afforded practice of the identified leadership goals. The student and clinician met weekly for feedback and plan modification.


210 students have participated in the Educational Leadership Model to date and results thus far revealed a significant improvement in leadership behaviors between Semester 4 to Semester 8 (p=.0001). The results from this academic and clinical leadership pilot expansion will be analyzed in August 2017.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

This study will inform how goal-setting relates to the transfer of training of leadership behaviors from the academic to the clinical environment.12 Learners who set leadership goals specific to the clinical environment may develop more rapidly. The findings will offer guidance on how to enhance leadership skills in students and address the need for stronger leadership skills in practicing clinicians who can advocate for the expansion of the role of physical therapists in the current health care environment.13–16


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10. LPINormativeDatabaseNarrativeThru2011.pdf. http://www.leadershipchallenge.com/UserFiles/LPINormativeDatabaseNarrativeThru2011.pdf. Accessed February 3, 2017.
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16. Kigin C, Rodgers M, Wolf S. The Physical Therapy and Society Summit (PASS) meeting: observations and opportunities. Phys Ther. 2010;90(11):1555-1567. doi:10.2522/ptj.20100138.

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  • Control #: 2751861
  • Type: Posters
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Dr. Heidi Eigsti, Dr. Alice Davis
  • Keywords:

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