Perceptions of Physical Therapist Educators Regarding Medical Genetics Literacy

Purpose/Hypothesis : The advances in medical genetics in treating disease necessitates practitioners develop a better understanding of this topic as it relates to their clinical practice. The National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG), of which the APTA is a member, has identified 21 core competencies in genetics that are essential for all health professionals. The purpose of this descriptive survey study was to determine the perceptions of physical therapist educators regarding medical genetics literacy and core competencies in physical therapist education and practice.Number of Subjects : Potential survey respondents included 3,177 subjects drawn from faculty lists of accredited physical therapist education programs in the United States and from the member list of the APTA education section.Materials/Methods : A 31-item electronic survey, which was previously reviewed by a physical therapy genetics education expert, was sent to the defined subject pool. Three separate individually addressed contacts were made yielding a final response from 599 subjects (18.8%), with 561 responses analyzed (38 declined participation).Results : Most respondents were female (66%) with doctoral training (81%) who had practiced physical therapy 20+ years (62%). Previous exposure to genetics literacy came primarily from outside reading (53%) and from related courses in professional/graduate school instruction (32%). A total of 26% of respondents identified no exposure to genetics literacy. A total of 67% of respondents agreed that genetics literacy was important in the management of patients, but less than half agreed that increased genetics-related education was a priority for physical therapy students (45%) and clinicians (46%). Regarding NCHPEG baseline competencies for health professionals, respondent agreement rated: 50% for self-examining competence in professional development related to genetics and genomics; 94% for understanding the important social and psychological implications of genetic information on patients and families; 77% for knowing how and when to make a referral to a genetics professional. Respondents noted a mean agreement of 82.6% on the 11 NCHPEG knowledge core competencies, 63.2% on the 5 skill core competencies, and 96.5% on the 2 attitude core competencies.Conclusions : Physical therapist educators agree that genetics literacy is important to patient treatment, but a majority do not see genetics-related education as a priority for physical therapists. They agree (>75%) with NCHPEG knowledge and attitude core competencies, and 2 of 3 baseline core competencies. There was less agreement (<65%) on skill competencies and the baseline competency of self-examination of professional development related to genetics and genomics.Clinical Relevance : With the advent of medical genetics and genomics playing a greater role in defining the origins of pathology and novel ways of treating disease, it is important to understand the status of the physical therapy field regarding student and practitioner education in this area.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 1724684
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Robert S. Van Zant, George Hwang, Mandee Kerns, Kim Lindblade, Carlton McFarlane, Julie Toney
  • Keywords: genetics education|genomics|genetics core competencies

BACK to Abstract Results