Demographics of Clients Seen by Doctor Physical Therapy Student’s During Clinical Education Experiences
Faculty in Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs (DPT) are expected to plan clinical education experiences in a variety of setting which provide students the opportunity to work with clients with diseases and conditions representative of those seen in clinical practice across the lifespan.1 Educational faculty create didactic and laboratory experiences based on past and current clinical practice, Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) Standards and data related to physical therapists pracitce.1,2 Clinical practice changes over time based on population demographics, funding resources, current evidence and practice innovation.3 The purpose of this study was to provide quantitative data regarding clients seen by DPT students during their 2016 clinical education experiences to more fully describe physical therapy practice in this Midwestern state.
This was a retrospective study. Following training DPT student entered client data using the Typhon Group case log-tracking database. Students entered client demographic data, practice pattern, and ICD-10 diagnosis categories. Data collection occurred during 34 weeks of full-time clinical education experiences and internships.
Students were involved in 50,093 hours of patient care for 23,983 patients. The number of patient visits during the year was 59,893 with an average time spent being 50 minutes per session. Patient conditions could best be described as musculoskeletal (79.3%), neuromuscular (15.3%) cardiopulmonary (2.8%), integumentary (1%), and other (1.6%). Patient ages were under 2 years (1.5%), 2-10 years (4.1%), 11-17 years (6.6%), 18-49 years (26.7%), 20-64 years, (25%) and over 65 years of age (36.1%). Forty-five percent of the patients were male.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
This study demonstrates that students work with clients across the lifespan and with various conditions. The majority of clients present with musculoskeletal conditions, however education in other practice areas is imperative. This study supports the areas faculty need to focus on to provide students with the physical therapy practice knowledge and skills to provide care for the clients within this state. A limitation of this study is descriptive data could be biased based on the clinical sites that agreed to support students during clinical educational experiences. This study however provided a lens into current practice allowing educators to confirm, refine, and explore the areas needed to support student learning.
1. Commission of Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Standards and required elements for accreditation of physical therapist education programs (2016). http://www.capteonline.org/Faculty/AccreditedPrograms/ Accessed April 9, 2017.
2. American Physical Therapy Association. Physical therapist member demographic profile 2013. http://www.apta.org/WorkforceData/DemographicProfile/PTMember/ Accessed April 10, 2017.
3. Pagliarulo, MA. In Introduction to Physical Therapy, 5th Edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier, 2016.