Pediatric Integrated Clinical Experiences: Enhancing Learning Through a Series of Clinical Exposures







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Winter 2017

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Physical therapists (PTs) provide services to individuals throughout the lifespan. Previous research supports the inclusion of opportunities for PT students in entry-level programs to observe and interact with both children who are typically developing and those with disabilities. Currently, there are limited opportunities for clinical internship placement in specialized settings, such as pediatrics, and programs and students compete to secure such placements. A unique model of integrated clinical experiences (ICEs) was implemented at 1 university. The model, which interweaves clinical exposure in diverse pediatric settings throughout a 2-semester pediatric course series, was designed to enable students to practice applying the components of the patient/client management model with children, and to facilitate integration of pediatric content. Outcome data were collected from PT students in the 2014 and 2015 cohorts, and from clinical instructors (CIs) involved in the model since its inception. The model was evaluated using a mixed-method, case study design consisting of 2 phases. Phase 1 of the design consisted of pre and postintervention survey methodology including a reflection component. Phase 2 consisted of interviews with students and CIs to gather qualitative data about their experience with participating in the model. Results indicate that the integrated labs achieved the intended objectives. Furthermore, real-life interactions with children and members of the interprofessional team improved students' confidence for working with the pediatric population, improved interprofessional communication skills, and enabled clinical application of content and concepts of family-centered care learned in the classroom. Findings can inform pediatric curriculum design for PT education programs to better prepare students for pediatric clinical practice.


Medicine and Health Sciences


Pediatric Physical Therapy, Integrated Clinical Experiences, Patient/Client Management Model, Pediatric Clinical Practice

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