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Impact on Clinical Performance of Required Participation in a Student-Run Pro Bono Clinic

Gilles, Jodi PT, DPT; Bishop, Mark PT, PhD, FAPTA; McGehee, William PT, PhD; Lulofs-MacPherson, Kevin PT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT; Dunleavy, Kim PT, PhD, OCS, FNAP

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 209–214
doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000083

Background and Purpose. Early opportunities for students to develop clinical skills and professional attributes are important to maximize clinical learning. Student-run pro bono clinics have the potential to provide early contextual exposure. This article describes the impact of required compared to voluntary participation in a student-run pro bono clinic on clinical performance during the first full-time internship.

Method/Model Description and Evaluation. Students in the University of Florida Doctor of Physical Therapy program were assigned to one of four service learning groups including a pro bono clinic. While attendance at the clinic was encouraged for all students, only the assigned group was required to attend twice a semester. A retrospective analysis of student performance on the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) for the first internship was conducted. Clinician CPI ratings were categorized as beginner or intermediate and above. Median scores for safety, professional practice, and practice management items for those students who were required to attend the clinic were compared to students from the other service learning groups who did not attend or attended voluntarily using Chi-square analysis.

Outcomes. At midterm, a higher proportion of the required pro bono group were rated as intermediate or above by clinical instructors for safety, all professional practice items except professional development, and all patient management items except diagnosis/prognosis, education, and consideration of financial resources. Differences were present at the final evaluation for safety, professional behavior, cultural competence, clinical reasoning, and examination.

Discussion and Conclusion. Positive outcomes were present for students involved in the pro bono clinic, illustrating the potential benefits of required pro bono clinic experiences early in a professional curriculum for accelerating clinical performance.

Jodi Gilles, PT Solutions, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida.

Mark Bishop, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida.

William McGehee, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida.

Kevin Lulofs-MacPherson, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida.

Kim Dunleavy, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida, PO Box 100154, Gainesville, FL 32610-0154 ( Please address all correspondence to Kim Dunleavy.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

J. Gilles: Concept, design, data collection, literature Search, and writing; M. Bishop: Statistical analysis and writing; W. McGehee: Data processing, literature search, and writing; K. Lulofs-MacPherson: Concept and writing; K. Dunleavy: Concept, design, literature search, and writing.

Received May 25, 2018

Accepted October 22, 2018

Copyright 2019 © Academy of Physical Theraphy Education
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