Physical Therapist StudentsÕ Orientation Toward Lifelong Learning

Purpose/Hypothesis : The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) defined a quality educational program as one that prepares graduates for competent/ethical practice and includes preparing individuals for lifelong learning (LLL). To demonstrate compliance with CAPTEÕs standard, educational programs should be able to demonstrate its LLL outcomes. Few valid tools exist to measure studentsÕ preparedness for LLL and little has been published to describe if adequate preparation for LLL is taking place in entry-level education. The purposes of this mixed methods pilot study were to explore Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) studentsÕ orientation toward LLL using a newly adapted tool, the Jefferson Scale of Physician Lifelong Learning-Health Professions Students Version (JeffSPLL-HPS) and to explore studentsÕ perceptions as to how well the DPT program prepared them for the task of LLL.Number of Subjects : This convenience sample was obtained as a subgroup of a larger study that investigated health professions studentsÕ orientation toward LLL. DPT students in their last year of study (Class of 2013) were invited to participate with 24/33 (73%) of the students (19 females and 5 males, mean age = 24.6+/-1.5) responding.Materials/Methods : We administered an IRB approved electronic survey that included the JeffSPLL-HPS, a global item related to commitment to LLL, and open-ended questions regarding LLL in the curriculum. The JeffSPLL-HPS is a 14-item questionnaire that uses a four-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree; 4 = strongly agree) to assess a health professions studentÕs orientation toward LLL. Higher JeffSPLL-HPS scores indicate a greater orientation toward LLL. Our global item measured self-reported commitment to LLL on a scale of 0-10, with higher scores indicating greater commitment. We conducted a qualitative thematic analysis of student responses on the open-ended survey items.Results : The mean JeffSPLL-HPS score for DPT students was 43 (SD 4.0) while their self-reported commitment to LLL was 7.8/10 (SD .16). In response to the open-ended questions, 12 students reported participating in extracurricular activities such as continuing education courses, medical Spanish classes and mission trips, research presentations, and attendance at professional conferences. Students referred to the DPT curriculum as supportive for developing LLL and reported that LLL was emphasized by instruction in evidence-based practice. Faculty were perceived to encourage LLL by influencing active involvement in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and by the programÕs student-centered learning environment.Conclusions : Preliminary findings suggest that DPT students have a good orientation toward LLL by their last year of study in the program. Longitudinal research will be conducted to see if studentsÕ orientation toward LLL changes from the start of the DPT program to graduation and what factors students perceive as relevant to LLL.Clinical Relevance : LLL is essential for clinical competency and public protection. LLL habits should be initiated during entry-level education.

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  • Control #: 1715008
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Malorie K. Novak, Christie L. Palladino, Deborah S. Richardson
  • Keywords: Lifelong Learning

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