Part of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum includes clinical experiences interspersed throughout the program. Students are prepared didactically with knowledge, skills, strategies for critical thinking, and professional behavior tactics prior to these clinical experiences. However, sometimes there is a disconnect with success in the classroom and success in the clinic, which may occasionally lead to failure during a clinical experience. Clinical education is a significant component amongst all physical therapy programs, accounting for one-third to one-half of the time spend in this professional doctoral curriculum (Sass, et al 2011; Recker-Hughes et al, 2014). When students are taxed with making quick, accurate clinical decisions, they can sometimes demonstrate difficulty. As educators, we have a profound responsibility to our students to provide them with varied strategies for success, tools to support learning, and fair methods of evaluation (Haskvitz & Koop, 2004). When students fail to demonstrate competency in the clinical environment, the remediation procedure becomes critical, and a remedial plan must be developed (Katz, et. al, 2010).
This study is a qualitative electronic survey.
A survey was designed by the co-investigators to include demographic questions about the program and questions related to clinical education remediation. Demographic questions were included to garner information regarding the foundational structure of each program’s clinical education curriculum. The survey also seeks information about the remediation process, reasons for remediation, and effectiveness of the remedial strategies.
Data from the surveys will be downloaded by the investigators at the close of the survey and analyzed via Qualtrics and SPSS. The qualitative data will be interpreted as frequency counts and percentages based on the number of respondents to each item.
Data collection will be complete May 2017.
Preliminary results (51 surveys have been returned) demonstrate similiar trends among schools in categories of student difficulty, including challenges based on the sequence of clinical experience, the setting of the clinical experience, and skills from the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) presenting the most difficulty for students to meet a given criteria. There are a wide variety of strategies for managing each student's lack of success, which range from very effective to somewhat effective in the remedial process.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
It is our duty to continually strive for excellence in physical therapy education. If we can better identify common themes in the clinical environment where students are frequently faltering, we can anticipate this, prepare them differently, and also have a variety of proven remedial strategies in place to assist in their success. The future of physical therapy education depends upon us as educators making these calculated changes to ensure all of our students bridge the gap between the classroom and clinical environment.
a. American Physical Therapy Association [Internet]. Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument: Version 2006, (PT CPI Web). Alexandria, VA.
b. Haskvitz LM & Koop EC. Students struggling in clinical? A new role for the patient simulator. J Nursing Education. 2004; 43: 181-4.
c. Katz, et al. Guiding Principles for Resident Remediation: Recommendations of the CORD Remediation Task Force. 2010; 17: 95-103.
f. Recker-Hughes et al. Essential Characteristics of Quality Clinical Education Experiences: Standards to Facilitate Student Learning. 2014; 28: 48-56.
g. Sass, et al. Physical Therapy Clinical Educators’ Perspectives on Students Achieving Entry-Level Clinical Performance. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2011; 25: 46-52.