Finding Common Ground: Factors Allied Health Clinical Instructors and Student Therapists Report are Important for a Successful Clinical Internship Lindsay Davis, SPT; Heather Urzendowski, SPT; Thomas Maggard, SPT Faculty Mentor: Ann Marie Decker, PT, MSA, GCS, CEEAA
Background and Purpose: This continuation study looks to determine factors students and clinical instructors perceive as important to successful clinical internships. Full-time internships comprise a significant amount of the curriculum in graduate allied health programs in the areas of occupational therapy (OT) or communication sciences and disorders (CSD). Similar to physical therapy (PT) programs, OT and CSD programs rely heavily on volunteer Clinical Instructors (CI’s) to supervise students during internships. Simultaneously, student internships should enhance and promote student learning. Qualities of effective CI’s has been widely studied across a range of medical and allied health professions. Often studies focus on the CI or student perspective, though rarely both. A similar study completed last year using similar methods, surveyed physical therapy students and CIs finding subjects ranked communication/CI feedback as most important factor overall.
Subjects: Students and CI’s enrolled in Kansas and Missouri OT or CSD programs received surveys via fieldwork coordinators. 36 students consented, 26 completed survey. 89 CI’s consented, 81 CI’s completed survey.
Methods: Survey generated after extensive review of literature. Survey piloted prior to launch. Initial emails with survey link were sent to OT/CSD fieldwork coordinators, requesting the email be forwarded to students in the program and CI’s affiliated with the program. Reminder emails sent six weeks later. Data for study gathered via electronic surveys completed by students and CI’s. Surveys listed factors specific to four domains; clinic environment, clinical instructor, patient, and student. Subjects ranked factors within each category and identified the most important factor overall.
Results: Overall results show the following most important factor for each domain: ● Clinical environment - variable with each groups selecting a different factor as the most important ● Clinical instructor - Competency (all 3 groups) ● Patient - variable with groups selecting a different factor as the most important ● Student - *Interpersonal skills (*)=MOT and CSD subjects ranked most important Subjects reported via open ended question, the most important overall factor for successful clinical internships are: Interpersonal skills (24%), CI communication/feedback (13%), and preparation for internship (18%).
Conclusion: Relative agreement across disciplines was found in how subjects ranked student and CI factors important to successful clinical internships. Various factors across multiple domains contribute to successful internships. Interpersonal skills and CI communication reported overall as most important factor. Findings similar to PT student/CI prior study. Further research should explore integration of important factors into student internships. Study limitations include low number of student subjects and the subject’s ability to skip any/all questions throughout the survey. Funding Source: None, References: Available upon request
Acknowledgements: We acknowledge the support and assistance of our colleagues, April Jardes, MS, CCC-SLP & Liz Zayat, MS, OTR/L for their assistance in recruiting subjects, as well as Mohamed Kohia, PhD, PT for his assistance with statistical analysis.