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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe the opportunities and challenges of a curricular review process in an entry-level doctor of physical therapy geriatric curriculum. The curricular review process utilized an external interprofessional reviewing body, in conjunction with an established internal curricular reviewing body, to determine inclusion of Essential Competencies in order to prepare students for best clinical practice in the care of the older adult. Method: The methodology of our curricular review process included both internal and external reviewing bodies but the intent of this article is to highlight how the review process was implemented including an external interprofessional reviewing body. The internal reviewing body involved two faculty members with expertise in geriatrics, the Program Curriculum Committee members, and the faculty members within the entry-level doctor of physical therapy program. The external reviewing body was comprised of the 2012-2014 members of the Faculty Development Collaborative Program in Geriatrics (FDCPG), a national interprofessional learning community representing multiple disciplines involved in the care of older adults. Results: The outcomes of including an external interprofessional reviewing body in the geriatric curricular review process were: the FDCPG justified the need for the review of the Essential Competencies, deemed their role as important in healthcare education, and reported a greater understanding of the role of physical therapists as part of an interprofessional healthcare team. The Program Curriculum Committee created a policy for consideration of other published competencies, including a recommendation for “other necessary consultation” based on our use of an external reviewing body, noting its value. The outcomes of the overall curricular review process included: 53/61 Essential Competencies were identified as already in the curriculum and the remaining 8/61 Essential Competencies were added. Conclusions and Recommendations: The addition of an external interprofessional reviewing body to an already established internal reviewing body within the geriatric curricular review process in an entry-level doctor of physical therapy program produced a curriculum that will hopefully prepare students for best clinical practice in the care of the older adult. This comprehensive curricular review process involved opportunities and challenges yet still can be used across multiple disciplines, across multiple curricular structures, and is in line with the current state of healthcare practice.

Author Bio(s)

  • Jill FitzGerald PT, DPT, GCS, CSCS, is an assistant professor in the Dept of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at St. Louis university. She teaches in the classroom, and is also part of the Clinical Education Team. She is an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor, Credentialed Advanced Clinical Instructor. Dr. FitzGerald is also a Board Certified Geriatric Specialist, Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Dr. FitzGerald has clinical experience in geriatrics, mainly in sub-acute, outpatient and wellness settings.
  • Kelly Hawthorne PT, DPT, GCS, is an assistant professor in the Dept of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at St. Louis University. She earned her BS in Exercise Science, Master of Physical Therapy, and transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees from Saint Louis University. She is an ABPTS Certified Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy and practices weekly with the geriatric patient population. She is an APTA Credentialed Instructor, Advanced Clinical Instructor, and Credentialed Clinical Instructor Trainer. She is a member of the Clinical Education Team.

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