Developing Leadership, Advocacy Skills and APTA Awareness through a Focused Seminar Course

Purpose : To describe a unique method of content delivery that fosters leadership and advocacy skills in physical therapist assistant (PTA) students through its strong emphasis on APTA involvement. By highlighting various APTA roles and by connecting the need for individual leadership/advocacy with the Core Values of Professionalism and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the PTA, students gain a greater understanding of their responsibilities in advocating for their patients, profession and members of society.Description : Student are required to take this one credit course (sixteen contact hours) midway through their second semester in the PTA program. The course is delivered over four consecutive days, with a four-hour class session each day, and no other PTA courses are taking place at this time. Course components include information about physical therapy's role in health care reform, the mechanics of payment, and discussion about the legislative, regulatory and societal issues that limit access to health care services. Over the past two years of this format, a greater emphasis has been placed on the APTA's advocacy role in influencing these processes and issues, by featuring APTA leaders who highlight the various ways in which involvement in the APTA can allow individuals to follow their own passions in advocacy and leadership. Speakers have included the state chapter president, state government affairs chair, members of the Board of Directors, Chief Delegate, PTA Caucus representative, new professionals within the chapter and APTA Student Assembly leaders. Course assignments include identifying an advocacy issue for which they have passion, researching articles on the topic, articulating their rationale for advocating for this issue, based on the role of the PTA as defined in APTA core documents, writing a letter to an APTA/government official asking for action, and developing leadership goals related to their advocacy issue.Summary of Use : The course has been delivered in this format for the past two years and feedback has been very positive. 81.9 % of students surveyed after the course responded "strongly agree" or "agree" to the statement, "This course is important to my education/career." In addition, 80% of students responded "strongly agree" or "agree" to the statement, "The course format was effective."Importance to Members: Advocacy, leadership and APTA membership are important traits of professionalism, but it can be challenging for educators to make those concepts meaningful to students. By focusing solely on these topics during a one-week seminar that requires students to apply concepts to their own personal passions, students develop a greater awareness of how the clinician's role goes beyond patient care to that of a change agent, and gain greater insight into how the APTA supports those efforts.

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  • Control #: 1726056
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Holly Clynch
  • Keywords: advocacy|leadership|pedagogy

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