International Service Learning to Promote Core Values in Physical Therapy Students
Purpose: Service learning (SL) is a pedagogy used in health professions programs to promote the ideals of social responsibility, intercultural understanding, social justice, and civic engagement. These findings parallel several professionalism core values described in the APTA Core Values, specifically social responsibility, professional duty, and caring/compassion. Thus, the purpose of this presentation is twofold: 1) to describe DPT students’ attitudes and perspectives towards international SL experiences; and 2) to assess the influence of SL experiences on students’ perceptions of their future civic engagement and leadership activities.Methods/Description: Thirty-four DPT students traveled to countries in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Asia to provide healthcare services to underserved communities as part of a course-required SL experience. At 1-month and 6-month intervals following the trip, students completed the Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation Student Survey. Survey responses were scored using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree). Results were summarized using descriptive statistics. Students also provided qualitative feedback about their experience and this information was analyzed to identify principle themes that supported or added depth to the quantitative data.Results/Outcomes: An average of 72% of students participating in international SL responded to the survey at one and six months. Students’ reflections on their experiences revealed the strengthened leadership skills they acquired as a product of the SL opportunity (1 mo: 4.4 ± 0.51, mean ± SD; 6 mo: 4.21 ± 0.72). Furthermore, students gained confidence in their ability to show compassion for patients of diverse backgrounds and a greater understanding of cultural features different from their own (1 mo: 4.48 ± 0.59; 6 mo: 4.46 ± 0.72). One significant finding highlights the students’ greater sense of responsibility to serve their community (1 mo: 4.48 ± 0.51; 6 mo: 4.79 ± 0.41). While the trip was intended to serve outside of the United States, qualitative feedback from students underscored a desire to identify areas in their own communities where they could serve. Lastly, students gained confidence that they can make a difference in the community. This survey question showed the highest level of agreement, with 100% of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing to this question (1 mo: 4.6 ± 0.5; 6 mo: 4.83 ± 0.38).Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: The integration of SL into DPT education promotes student growth in the core values of social responsibility, professional duty, and compassion/caring and provides unique and valuable opportunities to cultivate leadership skills. Further, the international experience advances students’ cultural competence and positions them to be active contributors to the civic life of their local communities. The commitment to engagement gained through SL can be an effective strategy to develop servant leaders in the physical therapy profession.References: 1. American Physical Therapy Association. Professionalism: Physical Therapy Core Values. Available at: http://www.apta.org/Professionalism/. Accessed September 12, 2016. 2. Brosky JA, Deprey SM, Hopp JF, Maher EJ. Physical therapist student and community partner perspectives and attitudes regarding service-learning experiences. J Phys Ther Educ. 2006;20(3):41-48. 3. Crabtree RD. Theoretical foundations for international service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 2008;15(1):18-36. 4. Crandell CE, Wiegand MR, Brosky JA. Examining the role of service-learning on development of professionalism in doctor of physical therapy students: A case report. J Allied Health. 2013;42(1):e25-e32. 5. Hayward LM, Charrette AL. Integrating cultural competence and core values: An international service-learning model. J Phys Ther Educ. 2012;26(1):78-89. 6. O’Grady CR. Integrating service learning and multicultural education: An overview. In: O’Grady CR, ed. Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities. New York, NY: Routledge; 2012: 1-19. 7. Stewart T, Wubbena Z. An overview of infusing service-learning in medical education. Int J Med Educ. 2014;5:147-156. 8. Village D. Qualities of effective service learning in physical therapist education. J Phys Ther Educ. 2006;20(3):8-17.