Purpose: The purpose of this comparative study was to investigate the reports of clinical instructors (CIs) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students from two different physical therapy programs in New England regarding their opinions on the teaching and evaluative techniques of professionalism during a clinical education rotation. One program emphasized professionalism prior to the students beginning their clinical rotations, while the other program did not have the same emphasis.

Methods: Three items from the professional practice section of the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) (accountability, communication, and professional behavior), were utilized to create the conceptual framework around which the interview questions were constructed. The qualitative research design allowed the primary investigator to speak one-on-one with CIs and DPT students in a clinical environment. Ten CIs and ten DPT students participated in the study. There were five pairs of participants from program #1 (not emphasizing professionalism), and five pairs from program #2 (emphasizing professionalism).

Results: Overall, it was determined from the findings that role modeling is the preferred form of instruction for affective behaviors like accountability and professional behaviors. However, immediate constructive feedback is a better form of instruction for communication; and close proximity observation, in conjunction with reviewing the sample behaviors from the CPI, serve as the preferred evaluative technique for the elements of accountability, communication, and professional behavior.

Conclusions and Recommendations: It was concluded that role modeling and the provision of immediate constructive feedback were the best forms of instruction for non-cognitive attributes, while close proximity observation served as the best form of evaluation. Based on the findings from the study, an investigation should be undertaken to examine the reliability and validity of the CPI.

Author Bio(s)

Bruce N. Elliott, PT, EdD, DPT, MS, COMT, is an associate professor in the school of physical therapy at MCPHS University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is a licensed physical therapist in both Connecticut and Massachusetts having received his PT degree from the University of Hartford.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.