Background and Purpose.
The increasing emphasis on evidence-based practice in health care, along with physical therapy's evolution toward a doctoring profession, has stimulated the need for changes in the teaching of research to professional physical therapy students. Physical therapist educators are now faced with the challenge of incorporating the additional content of evidence-based practice (EBP) into the curriculum, integrating it with content on research design and statistics, and impressing upon students the relevance of research evidence to clinical decision making.
Method/Model Description and Evaluation.
In this paper, we describe a course series on evidence-based practice that we developed when our professional physical therapist education program switched from a master's degree program to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. We provide an overview of the series and an in-depth description of the first course in the series, which combines research design, EBP, and clinical decision making. In this course, a case scenario serves as a catalyst to stimulate learning on how to find, understand, critically assess, and apply research literature. The research design categories, measurement issues, and approaches to critically appraising the literature are drawn from both the “traditional” physical therapy research curriculum and EBP. In this paper, we explore the similarities and differences between these two perspectives (traditional and EBP), as well as our approach to reconciling these differences and combining the content from both.
The outcomes to this curricular reorganization have been the following: greater efficiency in our curriculum, increased student appreciation of the link between research literature and clinical decision making, and student dissemination of EBP to the wider physical therapy community in our state. Discussion and Conclusion.We believe this model may be useful to other professional physical therapist education programs in the process of revising their research curricula.