Preliminary Trends in Supply and Demand of Physical Therapist Clinical Education: A Regional Analysis

Purpose : To assess trends in the supply and demand of clinical education experiences across two years in doctor of physical therapy (DPT) programs in Ohio and Kentucky.Description : This descriptive analysis included data from 11 of the 13 accredited DPT programs in the Ohio-Kentucky Consortium for Clinical Education for calendar years 2012 and 2013. The regionÕs overall clinical education supply was measured by the sum of placements offered to programs in the annual March mailing (offered placements) and the demand was measured by the total number of student placements completed. The percentage of offered placements that were released by academic programs (released placements) represented surplus. The change in overall supply and demand was compared across calendar years as was the percentage of released placements across levels of clinical experience, types of practice setting and time of year of clinical placement to determine areas of declining surplus.Summary of Use : Overall, the supply of clinical education decreased by 146 offered placements between 2012 and 2013 while the demand increased by 169 student placements. Despite this apparent narrowing between supply and demand, the overall number of released placements increased slightly from 2012 to 2013 (from 1072 to 1116) yet some areas of diminishing surplus were evident. Beginning or novice clinical education experiences demonstrated nearly a 5% decrease in released placements in 2013 while acute care, outpatient orthopedic and long term care/skilled nursing facility (LTC/SNF) settings showed smaller declines (1-2%). Released placements for clinical education experiences in the fall term demonstrated a 4% reduction in 2013. These levels of decline in surplus may be more troublesome for beginning or novice, acute care and LTC/SNF experiences since these categories showed less supply to begin with (< 20% of offered placements). All other clinical experience levels, practice settings and time of year categories maintained constant or increased surplus between calendar years.Importance to Members: As the profession considers alternative approaches to clinical education through the Flexible, Shared Vision of Clinical Education initiative being spearheaded by the Academic Council of the American Physical Therapy Association, it is essential to examine current trends in supply and demand to ensure a vision that is realistic and sustainable for the future. This report provides a model for assessing supply and demand at the regional level using data that most DPT programs currently maintain. It also provides an initial overview of one regionÕs emerging trends with evidence indicating a potential for future capacity issues although analysis over a longer period of time is necessary to more confidently predict shortages. Furthermore, the decline in offered placements coupled with a concurrent increase in released placements may indicate potential inefficiencies with the current system of matching students to clinical placements. Further investigation is warranted.

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  • Control #: 1727244
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Janice Howman, Kelli Barto, Meghan E. May
  • Keywords: clinical education|capacity issues|physical therapy

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