Student Internship Perspectives from Clinical Partners

Jena Haigh, SPT and Dawn Williams, SPTjh-dw-final-poster

14 Comments on “Student Internship Perspectives from Clinical Partners

  1. From your personal experiences, where do you think clinical education could use the greatest improvement and how, if at all, is this reflected in your data?

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    • I think that clinical education could use the greatest improvement in terms of increasing standardization of clinical education experiences. From my own personal experiences, I would have to say that at this time there are huge differences in the quality of clinical education experiences from site to site and instructor to instructor. Our data shows that clinical educators want their role to be clearly defined and want to be adequately prepared for their role. One of the recommendations that we developed based on our data in order to enhance clinical education experiences is to encourage clinical instructors to participate in association clinical education credentialing. Participation in credentialing can prepare instructors and clarify expectations. Additionally, clinical instructor participation in credentialing is a standardized measure of quality utilized by accreditation bodies that ensures that each student is receiving an excellent clinical experience.

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  2. Do you think it is possible to positively influence intrinsic factors in those PTs choosing not to be a CI in order to provide for more people WANTING to be a CI (versus the clinic manager saying “you’re next to have a student”? Why or why not?

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    • I think we can focus on intrinsic challenges. One topic of discussion we have looked at was how can you instill a desire to be a CI. It can be difficult to instill a desire, but a good place to start is to outline the contributions a CI can make and to present this to practicing professionals. Possible marketing for accreditation/ certifying bodies could increase awareness of opportunities to be a CI and remind those who have not recently been a CI the importance of contributing to the profession. Our research suggests that there is a desire there. We may just need to reach those who have been focused on other areas of professional development. Further focusing on limiting intrinsic barriers, like stress, can decrease opposing factors. Ways to do this include: becoming accredited if the profession has formal training and for the facility or the educational institution to provide support to the clinician.

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  3. You mention a few points in the clinical relevance section as to how we may increase the intrinsic benefits such as expressing gratitude to our CIs and clinics recognizing those who are CIs which I believe are great points as intrinsic factors seem to be a large motivator for becoming a CI. However, extrinsic barriers seem like they play a significant role in not being one. Are there other suggestions you guys had or found within the literature as to reducing the extrinsic barriers? You mentioned altering productivity requirements and organizations being more supportive, but is this commonly seen in practice or always practical? Thanks!

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    • The past research affirms the statement that extrinsic challenges play a larger role than intrinsic barriers. However past research did not make clinically relevant comments or suggestions to address these barriers. I personally have not seen productivity requirements altered for clinical instructors. In my opinion this could be helpful to address productivity and allow students to have better conversation and/or time to form relationships with their CI that allow mentorship. I additionally think that students should have orientation at clinical sites including tours of the facility, introduction to staff, and formal training on documentation systems. This can decrease the time it takes for a student to navigate a facility, increase student awareness of resources (including personnel), and improve the student’s ability to effectively and efficiently document.

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  4. The past research affirms the statement that extrinsic challenges play a larger role than intrinsic barriers. However past research did not make clinically relevant comments or suggestions to address these barriers. I personally have not seen productivity requirements altered for clinical instructors. In my opinion this could be helpful to address productivity and allow students to have better conversation and/or time to form relationships with their CI that allow mentorship. I additionally think that students should have orientation at clinical sites including tours of the facility, introduction to staff, and formal training on documentation systems. This can decrease the time it takes for a student to navigate a facility, increase student awareness of resources (including personnel), and improve the student’s ability to effectively and efficiently document.

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  5. Although you sent this survey out to a variety of different occupations, the great majority of responses were from physical therapists. I know you have listed this as a possible limitation or bias, but how do you think the other occupations would compare? Is there anything in the literature that would suggest differences between these occupations? Thank you!

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    • The majority of past research that we found was conducted within the fields of nursing and physical therapy. The findings of our study agree with past research that intrinsic motivators are the most influential factor for clinical partners regarding involvement with student clinical education experiences. The consistency that we have found on this topic between nursing and physical therapy leads me to hypothesize that other health care fields would compare similarly. One of the goals of future research should be to expand this study into other areas of health care in order to confirm/reject this hypothesis.

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  6. The intrinsic Challenge of “I fear that I will provide inadequate educational experiences to students” really stood out to me as two of my clinical instructors have said this. What would be a good way to help CIs understand that their help and education to us is so valuable?
    Thank you,

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    • A secondary purpose of our study was to develop strategies, based on the research findings, that promote and enhance clinical education experiences. I think that the following two strategies that we developed would be particularly helpful to address this particular intrinsic challenge.
      1: Students should express gratitude to clinical instructors and managers for their contributions. Something as simple as a heart-felt thank-you card can show CIs how much we students appreciate and value their time and input. Employers can also recognize the additional effort put forth for individuals involved in the clinical education program.
      2: Clinical instructors are encouraged to participate in association clinical education credentialing. Participation in credentialing can prepare instructors and clarify expectations. Hopefully, this credentialing process would decrease or eliminate any fears of providing inadequate educational experiences to students.

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  7. A secondary purpose of our study was to develop strategies, based on the research findings, that promote and enhance clinical education experiences. I think that the following two strategies that we developed would be particularly helpful to address this particular intrinsic challenge.
    1: Students should express gratitude to clinical instructors and managers for their contributions. Something as simple as a heart-felt thank-you card can show CIs how much we students appreciate and value their time and input. Employers can also recognize the additional effort put forth for individuals involved in the clinical education program.
    2: Clinical instructors are encouraged to participate in association clinical education credentialing. Participation in credentialing can prepare instructors and clarify expectations. Hopefully, this credentialing process would decrease or eliminate any fears of providing inadequate educational experiences to students.

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  8. You mention that there are currently 230 accredited DPT programs, with 29 more currently being developed. In your opinion, how might the clinical education portion of these programs have to change to accommodate a possible lack of clinical sites in the future?

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    • As a current PT student, I know how valuable clinical education is. That is why I would hate to see PT programs be forced to decrease the amount of time spent in clinical education due to lack of available sites. One of the purposes of our study was to develop strategies based on CI and manager/administrator responses to promote and enhance clinical education experiences. Programs should consider implementing these strategies (found in the upper right-hand corner of the poster) in order to improve relationships with clinical partners. Hopefully, these changes will ultimately increase the number of available clinical site placements in order to accommodate for the growing number of programs. Also, as financial resources are a common point of discussion for both students and educational programs, the results of our study indicate that extrinsic benefits are not a major motivating factor, so programs should not have to make changes such as providing financial incentives to clinical partners to participate in clinical education.

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