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Employer Perceptions of Physical Therapists' Residency and Fellowship Training

Insights for Career Development Planning

Briggs, Matthew S., PT, DPT, PhD, AT; Whitman, Julie, PT, DSc, FAAOMPT; Olson-Kellogg, Becky, PT, DPT; Farrell, Joseph, PT, MAppSci, DPT, FAPTA; Glaws, Kathryn R., PT, DPT; Walker, Joann M., PT, DPT; Clutter, Jill, PhD; Tichenor, Carol Jo, PT, MA, FAPTA

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: March 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 40–48
doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000078
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Introduction. Residencies and fellowships have been developed to train physical therapists (PTs) toward advanced expertise while emphasizing patient outcomes, evidence-based care, and advancing practice. Research evaluating the impact of PT residency or fellowship training, its value, and/or benefits is scarce. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if employers perceive the performance of residency- and/or fellowship-trained employees differently than non–residency-trained and/or non–fellowship-trained employees.

Methods. Participants were employers who employ PTs who have graduated from accredited physical therapy residency and fellowship programs in the United States. A survey was distributed asking perceptions of how employees, who were residency and/or fellowship trained, performed compared to employees with equivalent years of experience who were not residency or fellowship trained. Mann–Whitney U tests were used for comparison.

Results. A total response rate of 40% (n = 226) was achieved, and a total of 184 responses were included. Respondents rated residency- and/or fellowship-trained employees higher in domains of Leadership, Communication, Clinical Aptitude, Scholarship/Evidence Based Practice, and Teaching when compared to experienced-matched colleagues. Employers rated fellowship-trained employees higher than residency-trained employees in areas of Leadership, Communication, and Clinical Aptitude.

Discussion and Conclusion. These results may be important for assisting students and early- and mid-career professionals in making decisions about whether to attend residency and/or fellowship education and for understanding what employers value in making hiring decisions. Further, these considerations may influence future promotion opportunities, patient satisfaction, and payment policies.

Matthew S. Briggs is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and is the Program Director for the Sports Physical Therapy Residency at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute, 2835 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, OH 43202 (Matt.Briggs@osumc.edu). Please address all correspondence to Matthew S. Briggs.

Julie Whitman is the Program Director for the Evidence in Motion Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship.

Becky Olson-Kellogg is the Program Director of the Geriatric Residency at University of Minnesota.

Kathryn R. Glaws is a program faculty for the Sports Physical Therapy Residency at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Joann M. Walker is a program faculty for the Sports Physical Therapy Residency at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Joseph Farrell is an assistant clinical professor at the Department of Physical Therapy, Creighton University.

Jill Clutter an Associate Professor - Clinical in the school of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Carol Jo Tichenor is an assistant clinical professor at the Department of Physical Therapy, Creighton University.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.aptaeducation.org).

The project and study protocol were reviewed, and permission to conduct the study was granted by the Institutional Review Board at The Ohio State University.

Received October 04, 2018

Accepted October 04, 2018

Copyright 2019 © Academy of Physical Theraphy Education
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