RESEARCH REPORTS: EDUCATION: CLINICAL BOTTOM LINE
“How could I apply this information?”
The results of this scoping review provide thought-provoking insight into the state of current physical therapy (PT) education to prepare future physical therapists to work with children and their families. The evidence from this review indicates that the level of expertise and pediatric content in entry-level programs has increased over the past 27 years. However, concerns persist as to whether current students are being adequately prepared. The pursuit of excellence is dynamic, and a collaborative process among researchers, educators, and clinicians is recommended. Researchers with expertise in educational research design are needed to implement higher levels of research to explore unanswered questions about the characteristics of faculty who teach pediatric content, effective curriculum practices, and insights into how students learn most effectively driven through active partnerships with pediatric PT educators, clinicians, and students. Seeking information from current pediatric physical therapists and their employers may help inform the effectiveness of education approaches.
“How should I be mindful when applying the information?”
The central theme of this study is excellence, and the authors remind the readers that the pursuit of excellence includes consideration of culture, context, and values for all stakeholders. Remarkably, the initial intent of the authors was to complete a systematic review but due to the lack of rigor in existing studies, a scoping review was performed. The reader should be mindful that APTA and the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy play a vital role in this pursuit toward excellence (summits, conferences, guidelines, published resources, etc). While the focus of this review is entry-level PT education, the conclusions apply to residencies, fellowships, and continuing education for pediatric physical therapists. Barriers to education reform must address practicality issues, limitations of time within a full generalist entry-level program, limitations of access to children and families for learning, and the rising costs of tuition.
Elizabeth T. Kennedy, PT, PhD, PCS
Department of Physical Therapy
Department of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
University of South Alabama
Sheree Chapman York, PT, DPT, PCS
Children's Hospital of Alabama