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Changes in Perceived Self-efficacy of Physical Therapist Students Following a Pediatric Experiential Learning Opportunity

Wolden, Mitch, PT, DPT, PhD; Anderson, Brittany, PT, DPT; Ray, Chris, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000550
RESEARCH REPORTS: EDUCATION

Purpose: Physical therapists (PT) must be competent to treat patients across the lifespan, from pediatrics through geriatrics. Increasing the amount of experiential learning (EL) in pediatrics presents an opportunity for students to improve their self-efficacy in communication and patient handling. The purpose was to investigate changes in PT students' perceived self-efficacy in communication and patient handling following a structured and focused 8-week EL opportunity with a pediatric population.

Methods: Thirty-two PT students completed the Pediatric Communication and Handling Self-Efficacy Scale before and after an 8-week pediatric EL opportunity. A paired-samples t test was performed to assess changes in students' self-efficacy levels of communication and patient handling.

Results: Perceived self-efficacy levels significantly improved in regard to students' communication and patient handling skills following a pediatric EL opportunity.

Conclusions: Our findings reinforce the benefits of incorporating pediatric EL opportunities into the DPT curriculum as an effective learning strategy in pediatric education.

The purpose was to investigate changes in PT students' perceived self-efficacy in communication and patient handling following a structured and focused clinical opportunity with a pediatric population.

University of Jamestown Physical Therapy Program, University of Jamestown, and Education Doctoral Program, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota.

Correspondence: Brittany Anderson, PT, DPT, PhD, University of Jamestown Physical Therapy Program, University of Jamestown, 4190 26th Ave South, Fargo, ND 58104 (brittany.anderson@uj.edu).

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.pedpt.com).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association