Developing a Professional Embodiment of Movement: A Situational Analysis of Physical Therapist Clinical Instructors' Facilitation of Students' Emerging Integration of Movement in Practice.

Theses and Dissertations

Physical therapists are healthcare practitioners who improve the functional ability of their patients after the effects of injury and disease. One unique component of their practice is the ability to use the movement of their body to affect change as they work with their patient. This ability has been recognized as a uniquely embodied attribute of expert physical therapists. The purpose of this qualitative situational analysis study is to examine how the process of integrating movement into practice begins as physical therapist clinical instructors perceive and facilitate their students’ emerging integration of movement in practice. Participants in the study included five physical therapist clinical instructors and their respective five physical therapist students. Data were collected during the students’ clinical internships using participant interviews, observation, and document analysis. Data collection and analysis was guided by Dall’Alba’s theoretical framework for understanding professional ways of being. Data was analyzed using coding and mapping strategies consistent with Clarke’s situational analysis techniques. Findings suggest that in order to develop students’ use of movement in practice instructors must: establish a learning environment supportive of students’ unique needs; be intentional when teaching students to use movement in practice; and play a vital role in establishing a foundation for students’ trajectory of movement-related professional growth. Five themes also emerged from the data describing the ways in which instructors perceive and facilitate students’ development through the instructors’ abilities to adapt, prepare, enhance, connect, and develop. This study marks the first description of how physical therapist clinical instructors develop students’ use of movement in practice and how they play a role in students’ continued professional development.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Covington, J

Cited Editors

  • Barcinas, S, ; Akroyd, D; Figuers, C; Gwyer, J

Published Date

  • March 3, 2015

Conference Name

  • North Carolina State University