Pro Bono Pays Big Dividends in Physical Therapist Assistant Education
Purpose: The purpose of this education session is to describe one program’s model for providing integrated clinical education in a self-contained physical therapy clinic. The session will describe the operations of the clinic and utilization of the clinical learning space for PTA students throughout the program. In addition, the benefits and challenges related to the students, faculty and the community are explained, including an 18% reduction of outsourced clinical education hours over the past 5 years. Methods and/or Description of Project: This education session will be a mixed media presentation explaining the physical therapy clinic at a physical therapist assistant program. It will include the clinic design, operations, and instructional methodology in this learning-space framework providing students an actual clinic setting to learn, practice and refine skills. Qualitative and quantitative assessments/outcomes of this collaborative education model will be shared in this presentation and participants will be able to pose questions and contribute to the session Results/Outcomes: Implementation of PTA student-driven patient care in a self-contained clinic over the past 5 years allowed for the elimination of 2 integrated clinical rotations resulting in a reduction of outsourced clinical hours from 680 to 560(18%). Despite this reduction of clinical education hours, all students achieved entry-level at the conclusion of the terminal clinical experience. As the 2019 cohort begins in August, another integrated clinical will be suppressed and only 520 hours of outsourced clinical education will be required. The clinic generates an average of 65 visits each month, approximately $125,000 in care each year as promised to the community of donors who gifted the College the monies for the expansion and renovation of the clinic. Interviews of faculty and students showed three positive parallel themes: everyone appreciated teaching and learning in context, and students exhibited more confidence with clinical and patient communication skills. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: This learning space is a good example of a collaborative model in clinical education. The success of this self-contained clinical experience is due to the collaborative efforts of faculty, patients referred to as community instructors, the College and the surrounding community. Faculty supervision in the clinic reinforces the concepts taught in didactic courses; faculty control curriculum alignment and scheduling of content relevant patients. Patients who seek physical therapy services are critical to this model. Patients, typically with chronic neurological diagnoses serve as community instructors in the clinic. They voluntarily allow students to work with them, but they are also encouraged to give critical feedback on the performance of students to assist with student learning. Once patients understand their role with student learning, they gladly give excellent coaching to the students. The College bought the clinic building and continues to support the operational budget of the clinic which is estimated at $10,000 a year, plus a part time PTA who serves as administrative and patient care support for the faculty. The College also provides 30% release time for the Clinic Director who takes the lead supervising students and patients in the clinic. Finally, the community raised 1.5 million dollars to expand and renovate an empty building and continue to donate money and equipment to the physical therapy clinic every year.