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Clinical Instructors' Perspectives: What Should We Be Teaching in Pediatrics?

Kenyon, Lisa K. PT, PhD, PCS; Tovin, Melissa M. PT, MA, PhD; Hellman, Madeleine PT, MHM, EdD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31824d0e8a
Research Article

Purpose: This study explored clinical instructors' perspectives regarding specific aspects of pediatric content that should be included in the curricula of entry-level physical therapist education programs.

Methods: This mixed methods sequential explanatory study was conducted using 2 groups of participants. The survey-only group consisted of 278 participants who anonymously completed a Web-based survey. The mixed-data group consisted of 9 purposively selected participants who completed the Web-based survey and participated in a one-on-one qualitative interview that explored their survey responses.

Results: Participants provided recommendations pertaining to the depth and breadth of pediatric content in entry-level curricula. A diagram was created to depict the participants' perspectives on how pediatric content in the entry-level curricula should be structured.

Conclusion: Clinical instructors offer valuable insights that can be used to guide entry-level curricular content in pediatrics. The results of this study may assist physical therapist faculty in preparing students for entry-level practice in pediatrics.

Of interest was the finding that CIs believe the professional entry-level curriculum should include opportunities for students to interact with children: both those who are developing typically and children with special needs.

Department of Physical Therapy (Dr Kenyon), Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Physical Therapy Program (Drs Tovin and Hellman), Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Correspondence: Lisa K. Kenyon, PT, PhD, PCS, Physical Therapy Program, Grand Valley State University, 301 Michigan Street NE Suite 200, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (

This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD degree for Lisa K. Kenyon.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.