Situational Analysis of Physical Therapist Clinical Instructors' Facilitation of Students' Emerging Embodiment of Movement in Practice.
Background: Physical therapists improve the functional ability of patients after injury and disease. A unique component of their practice is the ability to use the movement of their own bodies to effect change in their patients. This ability has been recognized as a distinctive attribute of expert physical therapists. Objective: The purpose of this qualitative situational analysis study was to examine how physical therapist clinical instructors perceive and facilitate their students' emerging integration of movement in practice. Design: Data collection and analysis were guided by a theoretical framework for understanding "professional ways of being." Data were analyzed using coding and mapping strategies consistent with situational analysis techniques. Methods: The study included 5 physical therapist clinical instructors and their respective 5 physical therapist students. Data were collected during beginning, midterm, and final weeks of the students' clinical internships using participant interviews, observation, and document analysis. Results: Coded data were summarized using situational analysis mapping strategies, resulting in 11 maps. These maps were further analyzed and reduced to 5 thematic behaviors enacted by a clinical instructor as he or she helps facilitate students' use of movement in practice. These behaviors are adapt, prepare, enhance, connect , and develop . Limitations: The limited number of participants and the relative homogeneity of the student sample may have limited the diversity of data collected. Conclusions: The 5 behaviors are useful when considered as a trajectory of development. To our knowledge, this study marks the first description of how physical therapist clinical instructors develop students' use of movement in practice and how to enact behaviors important in students' continued professional development. The findings are important for clinical instructors and academic programs considering how best to prepare students to use movement and develop their skills early in practice.
Covington, K; Barcinas, SJ
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