Perspectives of academic faculty and clinical instructors on entry-level DPT preparation for pediatric physical therapist practice

Lisa K Kenyon, Robin L Dole, Stephanie P Kelly
Physical Therapy 2013, 93 (12): 1661-72

BACKGROUND: To prepare students for pediatric practice, the professional (entry-level) curriculum must reflect the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) required for pediatric physical therapist practice.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to develop consensus concerning the pediatric-specific KSA that should be expected of doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students at various points in the curriculum: prior to a pediatric clinical education experience, after a pediatric clinical education experience, and at the end of a DPT program.

DESIGN AND METHODS: The study was conducted using the Delphi method. Purposive and snowball sampling were used to recruit pediatric academic faculty and pediatric clinical instructors. Three Web-based survey rounds were used to achieve consensus, defined as agreement among ≥70% of informants. The first round identified pediatric-specific KSA that were essential for DPT students to demonstrate at the identified points in the curriculum. In the second round, informants indicated their level of agreement with each item identified in the first round. Items that achieved consensus were included in the third round, in which informants rated the level of proficiency that DPT students should demonstrate related to pediatric-specific KSA.

RESULTS: Consensus revealed the informants' perspectives concerning pediatric-specific KSA that a DPT student should be able to demonstrate at the identified curricular points. Consensus was reached on items in the curricular categories of basic science and foundations for practice; common pediatric diagnoses/pathologies, examination, interventions/plan of care/documentation; and general skills and abilities.

LIMITATIONS: Limitations included the small sample size and the potential for informants to feel uncomfortable prioritizing KSA.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is an initial step toward identifying pediatric-specific KSA that should be demonstrated by DPT students.

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