Factors related to first employment and the decision to pursue residency training for new physical therapists

Purpose/Hypothesis : Physical therapy clinical residency programs are becoming increasingly popular in the profession. Little is known about which factors are important in deciding to pursue a clinical residency. Understanding these factors can aid both academic institutions and residency programs to promote more graduates to pursue a residency. The purpose of this study is to determine which factors are reported by new physical therapy graduates that affect decision making related to first job choices and the decision to pursue a residency program.Number of Subjects : An online survey was e-mailed to 188 Physical Therapists who graduated from the DPT program of one private university. Eighty four completed surveys were returned.Materials/Methods : An email survey was distributed to graduates of the classes of 2010-2013 as part of the educational program evaluation. The survey included questions related to first job choice and post-professional training. Respondents were asked to report the importance they placed on a number of factors which might have influenced their first job choice and their decision to pursue residency training.Results : Of the 84 respondents, the top 3 initial jobs were in the hospital (35%), outpatient (23%), and in a rehabilitation center with inpatient beds (11%). The top factors in determining first jobs, as measured by the highest percentage of respondents indicating that the factor was ÒimportantÓ or Òvery importantÓ included: the level of compensation (82%), quality of PT staff (84%), quality of facility (77%), work schedule (77%), and autonomy of practice and level of responsibility in practice setting (75%). There was no difference in loan debt in respondents who reported that compensation was important versus those who responded that compensation was not important. Eight of the 84 respondents participated in a PT clinical residency. Of these 8 respondents, the factors most frequently reported to be ÒimportantÓ or Òvery importantÓ in their decision to pursue a residency included: interest in one particular area of PT practice (100%), availability of residency program in the practice of interest (100%), desire to increase expertise in a particular area of PT practice (100%), desire to become board certified (88%), future employment prospects (88%), and future income potential (88%). Of the respondents who did not complete a residency program, 75% reported that loan debt was an ÒimportantÓ or Òvery importantÓ factor in their decision.Conclusions : There are various reasons which influence a graduating DPT student in choosing their first job and whether to pursue a residency program. According to this study, loan debt does not appear to be related to the importance a graduate places on level of compensation. However, loan debt may be a factor in the decision not to pursue residency training.Clinical Relevance : Understanding which factors play a role in this choice can help educational programs assist new graduates in selecting their first jobs or in pursuing a residency program.

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  • Control #: 2025243
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Neva J. Kirk-Sanchez, Jenna Cooper, Kelsey G. Hanger, Megan Wooden
  • Keywords: residency training|post-graduate outcomes|employment

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