Background and Purpose.
Hand therapy is an area of physical therapist (PT) specialty practice, and its scope has been well-defined by its parent organization, the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC). It can be difficult for PT educators to determine the depth and breadth of a specialty area to include in an entry-level program. Educators must balance the volume of content required for entry-level practice with time constraints, while also providing introductory coverage of specialty practice areas. The purpose of this study was to establish guidelines for hand therapy content in entry-level PT education using a consensusbased approach.
Three questionnaires were developed by the researchers to identify hand therapy content that should be included in entry-level PT education. The initial questionnaire (89 forced-choice and 4 open-ended items) sought to identify content that should or should not be included as well as the level of teaching and learning that should be achieved. Subsequent questionnaires were developed based on responses from the previous round and included new items as well as items requiring consensus. Percentages of responses were used to determine consensus, and topics that did not reach consensus were carried forward to subsequent rounds.
Thirty individuals completed 3 questionnaires over a 5-month period, for a 100% response rate. Participants agreed on 64 content items for inclusion in the cognitive domain and 52 items in the psychomotor domain. Consensus on the level of teaching and learning for these items was also achieved.
Results provide PT educators with guidance on determining the breadth and depth of hand therapy content for entry-level PT education.