Purpose: Decreased confidence or competence in CI teaching skills can negatively impact clinical education experiences and patient care. This method/model study describes an innovative program developed by the Site Coordinators of Clinical Education (SCCE) and the Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at an academic medical center to improve clinician readiness to transition to the role of Clinical Instructor (CI). The purpose of this multidisciplinary CI Competency program was to build the bridge from clinican to educator in order to promote high quality clinical education while meeting expected patient care outcomes.Methods/Description: Therapists in PM&R who have worked at this medical center for more than one year, who have demonstrated clinical competence and met productivity guidelines, may qualify to start the CI Competency program. This program consists of 3 active-learning workshops on essential clinical teaching skills (presented by a Director of Clinical Education) and on teaching strategies across generations. After the workshops, a group orientation meeting with the SCCEs introduces policies and procedures, site-based learning objectives, and other relevant information included in the CI manual. Individual CI questions and concerns are addressed in a one: one meeting with a SCCE before the student arrives. Surveys completed by the CIs before and after a student experience are used to assess effectiveness of training. The student also provides feedback on the CI’s teaching performance on a department site evaluation form and the CI performs a self-assessment. Using this feedback the SCCE determines if recognition, support, or remediation of the CI is needed. Clinical Instructor activities have been built into annual performance reviews and clinical performance ladders.Results/Outcomes: Since the fall of 2016 a total of 37 PM&R clinicians, have completed the CI Competency program. Survey data following the completion of the program demonstrated that 95% of these clinicians reported that they felt prepared to be a CI and 100% reported that they understood their role as a CI. In the past 2 years, the number of PT student placements has increased from 21 to 58. There have been very few student/CI related clinical issues despite the growth in the clinical education program. Students have consistently rated CI communication and teaching skills as high or very high on the site evaluation form and the overwhelming majority reported having excellent clinical experiences at their exit interview.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: The CI Competency program was instituted to promote the professional development of clinicians in their role as teachers. The quantity of student placements has significantly increased and the quality of clinical education experiences has been strengthened since inception of this unique program as assessed by CI and student feedback. The CI Competency program is an example of leading through innovation in clinical education and could be easily adopted by other clinical sites.References: Bengtsson M, Carlson E. BMC Nursing. Knowledge and Skills Needed to Improve as a Preceptor: Development of a Continuous Professional Development-a Qualitative Study Part 1, 2015; 14(51)1-7. McCallum Christine A, Mosher P, Jacobson, Gallivan S, Giuffre S M. Quality in Physical Therapist Clinical Education: A Systematic Review. Physical Therapy, 2013. 93(10) 1298-1311. Recker-Hughes C, Wetherbee E, Buccieri K, Timmerberg J, Stolfi A. Essential Characteristics of Quality Clinical Education Experiences: Standards to Facilitate Student Learning. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2014; 28(Supplement 1): 49-55. Recker-Hughes C, Padial C, Becker E, Becker M. Clinical Site Directors’ Perspectives on Clinical Education. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2016; 30 (3)21-28.