Pediatric Physical Therapy:
Clinical Bottom Line
University of Florida Gainesville, Florida
Shands Hospital Gainesville, Florida
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
How should I apply this information?
This study surveyed clinical instructors' points of view regarding inclusion of pediatric content in entry-level curricula. There were a number of recurrent themes in this article that were similar to themes identified in the 2002 study by Donohue-Fillmore1 surveying pediatric academic faculty members. Clinicians identified content viewed as critically important and very important as preparatory to entry-level programs into the profession. This information is of interest to clinicians that will guide students interning in a pediatric setting. The key elements brought forth in this study and the Donohue-Fillmore study can serve as an entry point for “day 1” of a students' internship. The combination of information from academia and the clinical setting can act as a guide to drive the communication and interaction between clinicians and students. Clinicians and academicians can use the figure depicting the perspectives of respondents in the development of the optimal clinical pediatric experience.
What should I be mindful about in applying this information?
The Vision 2020 position of the APTA directs the academic community to prepare the entry-level graduate with knowledge and skills to treat patients of all ages. The accrediting process through CAPTE mandates inclusion of pediatric content in physical therapy entry-level curricula but does not specify how that is to be done. Therefore, a great variety in the amount of pediatric content currently exist in entry-level programs. There is also great variability in the amount of contact hours dedicated to pediatric content. On the basis of the results of this study, a clinician cannot take for granted that a student has had opportunity to interact with, handle, or develop programs for children. In light of this discrepancy and inconsistency in didactic training, the clinical instructor will need to shape the internship to enhance the students' training and provide training in preparation for independent practice at entry-level expectations.
The authors do not provide detail about the development of the questions in the survey-only group, nor in the mixed-data group, and therefore issues of reliability and validity are not accounted for. In the mixed-data group of 9, a “select” group of clinicians was interviewed one-on-one. Interviews are left up to the interpretation of the interviewers and therefore caution should be exercised with this data set. In addition, these interviews may be biased by the selection process used for inclusion in this group.
Claudia Ann Senesac, PT, PhD, PCS
University of Florida
Barbara J. Bour, PT
1. Donahoe-Fillmore BK. Pediatric Curriculum Content in Entry-Level Physical Therapist Education [dissertation]. Cincinnati, OH: Union Institute and University; 2002.