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Abstract

Purpose: Clinical education is an essential part of physical therapy education. Clinicians who provide student clinical training have the primary responsibility of patient care and meeting their job demands including meeting productivity standards. Adding a student to the mix is often perceived as negatively impacting productivity. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact on clinician productivity in direct patient care while hosting a student for a clinical experience. This study (a) investigates differences seen when hosting a DPT student or a PTA student; (b) compares differences seen influenced by which curricular stage the student is in for the clinical experience; and (c) investigates the impact on productivity while hosting a student across various clinic settings. Method: Clinical instructors for DPT and PTA students from three academic institutions were asked to participate while hosting one of the institution’s students. Information was taken on daily hours worked, number of patients seen, and units billed for the week before the student arrived and during the student’s full-time clinical experience. Data collected was analyzed for changes over time and for comparison of baseline data to collective (net) averages for all weeks in which the student was present. Sub-analysis was done on curricular timing of the rotations (initial, intermediate, or final), types of settings (inpatient, outpatient or other), and types of students. Results: While there were several significant changes over time in the components assessed, there were no significant differences when comparing baseline productivity components to the collective weekly averages. Conclusion: It appears that hosting students during full-time clinical experiences does not affect the overall productivity. There is generally the predictable drop initially that recovers to baseline around week 4 while either maintaining or increasing productivity during the remaining weeks to produce a net neutral or positive impact. This study works to ultimately disprove the common belief that clinician productivity is negatively impacted while hosting a student during a clinical experience.

Author Bio(s)

Jamie Dehan, PT, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, KS. She also serves as the Stefani Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Director and former Director of Clinical Education. She is a licensed physical therapist in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

Michele Avery, PTA, MS, is a tenured faculty member and serves as the Program Director and Academic Coordinate of Clinical Education for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Kansas City, KS. She is a licensed physical therapist assistant in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

Trevor Elmer, PT, was a student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS. He now works as a licensed physical therapist in an outpatient clinic in Colorado.

Yvonne Colgrove, PT, PhD, is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS. She serves as the Director of Clinical Education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She is a founding member of the LEARN-PT Lab.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to all the clinical instructors and students that participated in this study.

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