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Development of an Innovative Taxonomy and Matrix Through Examination of the Director of Clinical Education's Roles and Responsibilities

Engelhard, Chalee, PT, EdD, MBA; McCallum, Christine, PT, PhD; Applebaum, Donna, PT, DPT, MS; Teglia, Valerie, PT, DPT

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: December 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - p 325–332
doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000050
Research Report

Background. From the 2014 Clinical Education Summit, recommendations were made to strengthen physical therapist (PT) clinical education (CE). The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) is a key stakeholder in PT CE, and the roles and responsibilities of this position have come under review yet again. An investigation of this primary stakeholder is in alignment with the Summit's strategic plan and needed response to current inquiries.

Objectives. To further the work of the study by McCallum et al6, the purpose of this study was to investigate and determine the evolution of DCE's roles and responsibilities, with the hypothesis that a new taxonomy would emerge, reflecting a distribution of responsibilities that would guide current and future roles of the DCE.

Design. This study used a nonexperimental, descriptive, qualitative approach with a constructivist theoretical framework.

Methods: The data set from the study by McCallum et al produced five primary themes. The fifth theme, studied in this report, produced three subthemes—improve efficiencies of systems, optimize clinical teaching, and collaboration with translational research. Watts' Taxonomy, as a foundational, theoretical construct, was the basis for the thematic analysis of these subthemes.

Results. The development of an innovative DCE taxonomy with three responsibility levels—Processor, Coordinator, and Director emerged from the analysis of the fifth primary theme.

Conclusions. Using the DCE taxonomy, DCE's roles and responsibilities matrix illustrates the importance of fitting tasks to the corresponding DCE's role and responsibility. The matrix shows how delegation of routine DCE tasks can promote the DCE's ability to engage in tasks higher in the taxonomy. This can lead to effective delivery of CE and DCE's engagement in strategic leadership in guiding the future direction of the CE aspect of the PT program.

Chalee Engelhard is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, College of Allied Health Sciences, University of Cincinnati, College of Allied Health Sciences, PO Box 670394, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0394 ( Please address all correspondence to Chalee Engelhard.

Christine McCallum is a professor, Director of Clinical Education at Walsh University, School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Physical Therapy Program.

Donna Applebaum is an assistant professor, Director of Clinical Education, MGH Institute for Health Professions.

Valerie Teglia is an assistant professor, Clinical Physical Therapy, University of Southern California.

Supported in part by the 2016 Education Research Grant of the Education Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and the individual researcher's home institutions.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received December 17, 2017

Accepted March 04, 2018

Copyright2018 (C) Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA
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