Blind-Dating in PT Education – Where Is the Trust?
Purpose: The purpose of this session will be to explore background and importance of entrustable professional activities (EPAs), explore the possible methods for incorporating them into a physical therapy education program and combining these with a traditional competency based education (CBE) curriculum. Methods and/or Description of Project: In 1990, George Miller described a pyramid structure to assess the competence of medical students.3 This structure has had a large impact on the training and assessment of medical students and includes the levels of ‘Knows (Knowledge),’ ‘Knows How (Competence),’ ‘Shows How (Performance),’ and ‘Does (Action).’ Recently, Cruess et al recommended an adaptation that includes a level of ‘Is (Identity)’ to where a student is able to “think, act and feel” like a physical therapist.4 The “Identity” phase reflects integration of EPA in the individual’s repertoire supporting their transition from student to a professional practitioner. This is largely the goal of any entry-level program; however, programs may place more emphasis on the knowledge, competence, performance and action steps during the didactic portion and may leave formation of Identity to the clinical faculty during clinical experience. In this situation, the program is not intentionally addressing Identity formation. Rather, it’s assumed or hoped that the clinical “blind date” will be a great match and Identity will be instilled in the student. Programs need to implement an intentional strategy for Identity formation by incorporating and emphasizing EPAs from the beginning of the curriculum. The increased emphasis on integrated clinical experiences (ICE), service learning, leadership and global health initiatives further supports development and implementation a culture of educational experiences that incorporate EPAs to foster professional Identity formation. Results/Outcomes: The faculty reviewed feedback from various stakeholders including clinical faculty/sites, students, and alumni regarding students’ capacity to demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities as well as assume the professional role of a physical therapist. The faculty have created a portfolio system whereby students, academic faculty and clinical faculty (ICE and full-time) can provide input to the student regarding their development into the professional role. This feedback has been used to enrich professional advising meetings with students during the curriculum that goes beyond the traditional CBE assessments. Incorporating feedback specifically on EPAs has provided the students and faculty with a greater amount of trust that the student will be able to successfully transition from a student to professional role when they arrive at the clinical experience. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The strategic use of EPAs combined with CBE in the didactic portion of the physical therapy curriculum offers a rich environment to foster the development of students to be more prepared to assume the full role as a physical therapist. This will chart a new path forward to combining the use of both EPAs and CBE within the entry-level educational program.