Purpose: The purpose of this sequential mixed methods study was to investigate occupational therapy fellowship and physical therapy residency directors’ perceptions of components of a successful residency program. Methods: A pilot survey was administered to occupational therapy fellowship and physical therapy residency directors prior to the study. A 17-item self-report survey was used to gather fellowship and residency director perceptions on the success of their respective programs. Directors of approved occupational therapy fellowship programs and accredited physical therapy residency programs were invited to participate. Following completion of the survey, follow-up interviews were conducted to deepen the understanding of director perceptions. Quantitative data was entered into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and descriptive statistics were conducted. Qualitative data underwent thematic analysis. Results: Fellowship and residency director surveys (n=76) and interviews (n=7) highlighted program components that attributed to program success. While engagement in research was reported as only somewhat important, the other six components examined were rated as either important or very important. Research was not valued as highly as other components due to the nature of fellowship and residency programs and their focus on practical application of didactic components translating to clinical skill enhancement. Components not highlighted by the authors in the survey were then supplied by program directors in interviews: administration time, resident feedback, networking opportunities, rotation through the healthcare continuum, the opportunity to assist with teaching in an entry level program, and consistent feedback from mentors. Three themes emerged from interview data: importance of program components, fellow/resident characteristics, and program evaluation/changes. Conclusion: While some differences between occupational therapy fellowship and physical therapy residency programs were found, there were more similar components that contributed to program and participant success. Further research is necessary for the continued development and quality assurance of fellowship and residency programs.
Ted Kaufman at Creighton University for assistance with SPSS and statistical analysis Joy Doll, OTD, OTR/L at Creighton University for immense guidance forming the research proposal
Chapman M, Lehman E, Pedersen L, Sibson A, Xiao J, Domina A. Best Practices for Occupational Therapy Fellowship and Physical Therapy Residency Programs: A Mixed Method Study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2019 Oct 29;17(4), Article 5.