Ethnicity Does Not Impact Physical Therapy Students’ Clinical Readiness and Performance, a United States Exploratory Study
Purpose: To explore the impact of ethnicity on clinical readiness and performance among Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students, as determined by 1) Physical Therapist Self-Efficacy (PTSE) score, 2) self-confidence treating patients, and 3) final American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) clinical reasoning and summative ratings during clinical experiences. Methods: This study is a survey-based, descriptive, and exploratory cross-sectional research design involving sample of 211 DPT students evaluated for differences across ethnic students’ groups 1) PTSE score during student clinical experiences, 2) confidence with treating initial and subsequent same-patient visits, and 3) final CPI clinical reasoning and summative scores during clinical experiences. Results: Kruskal-Wallis test showed no difference across ethnic groups (American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black or African American, Hispanic, White or Caucasian, prefer not to answer, and multiple ethnicity) in 1) clinical reasoning self-efficacy (PTSE), n=211, p=.438; 2) confidence treating at initial visit n=211, p=.088 and subsequent patient visits n=211, p=.584; and 3) clinical performance on the CPI for clinical reasoning n=211, p=.273 and summative n=211, p=.189 scores. Conclusions and Recommendations: All ethnic groups demonstrated strong clinical readiness and performance during each clinical experience level. Ethnic groups did not differ on clinical reasoning self-efficacy or confidence treating patients. Although the gap appears to be closing, there continues to be underrepresentation of ethnic groups in DPT programs. We recommend investigating factors impacting underrepresentation of ethnic groups in DPT academic programs to explore initiatives to close the diversity gap and best match societal representation.
The authors wish to graciously acknowledge University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Leiselle Pilgrim, PT, DPT, EdD, for her contributions providing inclusive language for contemporary practice.
Campbell DF, Brismee J, Allen B, Hooper TL, Domenech MA, Manella KJ. Ethnicity Does Not Impact Physical Therapy Students’ Clinical Readiness and Performance, a United States Exploratory Study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2023 Jan 04;21(1), Article 9.