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Teaching Professionalism: A Survey of Physical Therapy Educators

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Abstract:

This study examined the opinions of physical therapy faculty relative to teaching and fostering professionalism in entry-level physical therapy education. A paper-and-pencil survey was mailed to a random sample of 318 physical therapy educators across the United States. Of the 318 surveys mailed, 166 participants (response rate, 52%) completed and returned the survey. Descriptive analysis revealed that 98% of the physical therapy educators view professionalism as an important component of a physical therapy curriculum. Eighty-nine percent of the respondents expressed concern about the professional behaviors of one or more of their entry-level students; however, based on the frequency of negative behaviors, these concerns appear to be isolated to a small percentage of the students. The most frequent negative behaviors observed among entry-level physical therapy students included tardiness and lack of personal responsibility. Respondents identified clinical reasoning, integrity, and honesty as the three most important professional skills for a physical therapist. The three most common teaching methods used to foster professionalism included generic abilities, small group discussion, and related reading assignments. Professional socialization is clearly a concern among physical therapy faculty for a few entry-level physical therapy students; however, based on the results of this investigation, it appears that most entry-level physical therapy students are making a smooth transition to professional socialization. The information obtained from this investigation may be useful to allied health professionals and educators to help promote professionalism among entry-level students enrolled in professional programs.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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asahp/jah/2009/00000038/00000002/art00003
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