The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has moved to establish structured postprofessional physical therapist education programs, similar to the medical model, that include clinical residency and fellowship programs. Little research has been done to ascertain the benefits of this approach for the graduates of these programs. The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the professional development and leadership activities between 2 groups of orthopedic physical therapists: residency and non-residency trained.
Residency- and non-residencytrained orthopedic physical therapists.
This was a descriptive study in which subjects were invited to complete a Web-based survey instrument. Non-parametric statistical testing (Mann-Whitney or chi-square) was performed to determine any significant differences between groups.
Differences were found for residency graduates with significantly greater rates of participation in postgraduate fellowship programs, board certifications in a physical therapy specialty, number of years as a primary clinical instructor of a physical therapist (PT) intern, frequency of employment as a guest lecturer or lab assistant in a professional or postprofessional PT educational program, head instructor in a professional or postprofessional PT education program, and clinical faculty member in a PT residency or PT fellowship program when compared to non-graduates. There was also a difference for graduates versus non-graduates in regards to annual income and hourly wage.
The results suggest that graduation from an orthopedic clinical residency program in physical therapy is related to enhanced professional development and leadership activities, as well as income.
Stephanie Jones is lead physical therapist at Castle Performance and Rehabilitation Center, 46-001 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 103, Kaneohe, HI 96744 ( firstname.lastname@example.org). Please address all correspondence to Stephanie Jones.
Chuck Bellah is a graduate student at Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Califonia, and a physical therapist at Visiting Nurses Association of Inland Counties in Murrieta, California.
Joseph Godges is coordinator of Clinical Education and Practice at Optimum Care Providers in Pacific Palisades, California. He was coordinator of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Programs for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California at the time of this study.
This research was approved by the Loma Linda University Institutional Review Board and the Orthopaedic Section of APTA's Web Site Task Force. Received April 3, 2008, and accepted September 2, 2008.