Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy


College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

First Advisor

Kirstina Rivas

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University. College of Health Care Sciences.


PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate how physical therapy mentors instill clinical judgment and competence during residency training. The researcher investigated effective mentoring behaviors and techniques in physical therapy residency training. SUBJECTS: Participants included physical therapy residency faculty, physical therapy residents currently enrolled in U.S. residency programs credentialed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and resident graduates (ie, within the past 2 years) from APTA programs. METHOD: A quantitative survey design was used to gain information about effective mentoring behaviors and techniques of physical therapy residency faculty who foster clinical expertise in physical therapy residents. Two online surveys were created: one for residency program faculty and one for current and past residents. RESULTS: Findings revealed that most mentors felt confident to mentor residents based on their past experiences instructing students and mentoring residents in physical therapy. Most mentor respondents had not taken APTA's Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program (CCIP), and fewer had taken Advanced CCIP (ACCIP). Mentor respondents who had taken both courses felt that CCIP was less helpful in mentoring residents than was ACCIP. Findings indicated important resident benefits, mentor behaviors, and characteristics of mentor-mentee relationships in residency programs. Results revealed mentoring and teaching strategies that were most effective for different stages of residency programs. CONCLUSIONS: These findings will help guide residency program faculty in effective mentoring practices and have added to the literature about how mentoring methods impact development of clinical expertise in physical therapy residents. These results (a) revealed a need for advanced training specific to mentoring residents, (b) can be used to determine what mentoring behaviors and techniques work best with residents, and (c) can serve as a basis for further developing residency training curricula. RECOMMENDATIONS: Further investigation is needed to determine which components of mentoring help residency faculty feel prepared to mentor residents. Further development and testing of mentor training programs are warranted. Additional research using qualitative methodology and this study's findings related to important resident benefits, mentor behaviors, and characteristics of mentor-mentee relationships in residency programs is necessary. Further research is also needed to investigate how reflection is used in mentoring in residency programs.


Physical Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Physical therapy mentoring, Physical therapy residency programs, Physical therapy residents

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