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Abstract

Purpose: Academic physical therapy programs strive to foster student readiness for full-time clinical education experiences in a variety of ways. This research looks at one program who has students participate in a student-run pro bono clinic for at least 60 hours prior to the first full-time clinic experience. The purpose of the study is to explore the influence that participation in this pro bono clinic has on a first full-time clinical education experience from the perspective of both the student and the clinical instructor (CI). Methods: Qualitative methodology was employed to gain the perspectives of 29 students and their respective CIs. Data collection included student journals and focus groups, and CI Likert-scale rankings and open-ended questions upon midterm calls. Data points were triangulated through iterative data analysis. Results: CIs rated students high in the eight categories that were triangulated to student data. The themes that were strongest among both students and Cis included comfort with client interaction, interaction with CIs, and cultural competency. Additional themes included documentation, interprofessional interaction, examination, clinical reasoning and intervention. An overarching theme was that students were well-prepared and functioning at high levels of competency for a first full-time clinical experience. Conclusions: Participation in a student-run pro bono clinic helps to facilitate student readiness for a first full-time clinical education experience according to both student perceptions and CI ratings.

Author Bio(s)

Ellen Erdman, PT, DPT is a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of Clinical Education at Widener University

Jill Black, PT, DPT, EdD is an Associate Professor and Pro Bono Services Coordinator at Widener University. She also serves as the Program Director and Associate Dean.

Sandra Campbell, PT, PhD is a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of Clinical Education at Widener University.

Stephen Grazioli, DPT was the Marketing Student Leader for the Chester Community Clinic while a student in the DPT program at Widener University

Timothy Golder, DPT was the Clinic Coordinator for the Chester Community Clinic while a student in the DPT program at Widener University

Kerstin Palombaro, PT, Ph.D., CAPS is an Associate Professor and Community Engagement Coordinator at Widener University.

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