Pro bono physical therapy clinics provide a beneficial service to the community. Studies have identified a positive impact of student volunteerism in pro bono clinics. However, little is known about the immediate and long-term impact on those who serve as student coordinators of such clinics. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore current and past pro bono clinic coordinators' perceptions of the professional and personal impact of serving as leaders of a pro bono physical therapy clinic.
Current and past coordinators were recruited to participate in focus groups and individual interviews, respectively. All interviews were voice recorded, and the 4-step method for analyzing phenomenological data as described by Giorgi was used for data analysis.
Nine past coordinators agreed to participate in individual phone interviews, and 2 focus groups were conducted with a total of 8 current student coordinators. Three main themes emerged from the data: Essential Skills and Behaviors, Professional Development, and Personal Development.
Discussion and Conclusion.
Serving as a pro bono coordinator was an eye-opening multidimensional experience that transformed students on personal and professional levels. The results of this paper provide support for the development of leadership characteristics through participation as a student coordinator of a pro bono clinic. Such characteristics are highly desirable in the physical therapy profession.