Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

First Advisor

J.J. Mowder-Tinney

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University. College of Health Care Sciences.


Purpose: This study had three objectives. The first objective was to develop the contents of a continuing professional development module (CPDM) for physical therapists geared toward increasing the use of standardized balance measures examine patients with balance dysfunction. The second objective was to assess the impact of the CPDM by measuring change in the clinicians' choice of measures using a patient case as well as the degree to which they changed their practice. The final purpose was to identify barriers and facilitators of knowledge translation using a CPDM. Subjects: A sample of convenience was used to recruit therapists through two home care agencies. Forty therapists participated in a one-day continuing professional development module (CPDM) regarding the use of standardized balance measures for patients with balance dysfunction. Method: A CPDM was designed based on the literature on adult learning, knowledge translation, and continuing professional development formats. Overlapping themes derived from this literature were combined to develop and present the module. Balance measures chosen for the content of the course were based on the literature and clinical relevance. Several tools were developed and administered to collect data on four levels of evaluation including: 1) participation using return rate of commitment to change forms, 2) satisfaction using a 5-point Likert evaluation form, 3) change in learning using change in pre/post case study scoring and a self assessment tool, and 4) change in performance using a commitment to change form and interview themes. Statistical tests used included descriptive, paired t-tests, and wilcoxon ranked sign test. In addition, semi-structured interviews were utilized. Results: Subjects satisfaction in the module was excellent and there was an 80% return rate of the commitment to change (CTC) forms. Statistically significant change scores were found in pre/post case study testing and self-assessment questions in regards to learning occurring following the module. Commitment to change forms and interview themes supported an actual change in clinicians' performance. Conclusion: Knowledge transfer can occur in a CPDM. The changes appeared to result from utilizing principles including accountability, multiple teaching strategies and facility support. The results of this study support the development of a CPDM to facilitate knowledge transfer in this specific area of physical therapy practice, as well as provide a model for other knowledge translation studies in the profession of physical therapy.


Physical Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Balance outcome measures, Continuing professional development, Knowledge translation, Physical therapists

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