Perceptions of the Novice Clinical Instructor: A Qualitative Pilot Study Comparing the Novice CI with the Expert CI

Purpose/Hypothesis : This pilot study explored the perceptions of novice clinical instructorÕs (CI) in regard to their experience of providing clinical education to physical therapist (PT) students enrolled in entry-level graduate PT programs. The purpose was to examine if novice CI understandings of clinical instructing experiences differ from those of the expert CI as described in a prior study of exemplary CIs, thereby lending support to an emerging theory of expert clinical instructing. The intent of this exploration was to describe participantsÕ understandings of how they became CIs, their educational philosophy, and their instructional practices.Number of Subjects : Three participants were homogeneous based upon the provision of full-time clinical instruction to two or less PT students in New England clinics, and heterogeneous in representing differing clinical settings: acute care, neuromuscular, orthopedics.Materials/Methods : This study used grounded theory and phenomenological methods to code data obtained from demographic surveys and transcribed semi-structured interviews. Each participant completed a one-hour in-person interview at the participantÕs clinical site. Iterative coding and analysis revealed dominant themes specific for each participant and across all participants.Results : Common themes across all participants describe the role of the novice CI, participant feelings of insecurity, the importance of being mentored, a budding philosophy of student-centered clinical education, and teaching strategies consistent with educational philosophy.Conclusions : A prior study of exemplary CIs suggests a theory of CI identity development in which expert CIs identify core professional and educational values to first guide the internalized process of building clinical and instructor proficiency, and then enact a commitment to being a CI by sharing expert instructional practices with their community and advancing the profession. All three novice CIs exhibited some core values of the expert CI, a focus on building proficiency, and some collegial attitudes of the committed CI. They 1. utilized prior life experience to provide student-centered education, but exhibited insecurities about their performance, 2. focused on building their proficiency as a clinician and as a CI by utilizing colleagues and students as knowledge resources, 3. supported studentsÕ trial-and-error learning and clinical reasoning, but did not focus on studentÕs reflective practices or critical thinking. Findings revealed that novice CIs rely upon their own student clinical education experiences to guide the development of current instructional practices. The adoption of expert CI practices occurs when the novice CI practices in a nurturing learning environment.Clinical Relevance : By expanding the understanding of the progressive development of the novice CI to the expert CI, this study supports continuing education to foster expert CI characteristics and build nurturing learning environments in clinics. Such efforts are necessary to advance the profession of physical therapy.

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  • Control #: 1727476
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Suzanne P. Gordon, Karen K. Morren, Eric T. Straniero, Benjamin J. Handler, Judith E. Thichava
  • Keywords: clinical education|novice clinical instructor

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