The Development of a Clinical Gerontology Lab for Physical Therapy Students: Curriculum Strategies

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Identifier 1999_Nelson
Title The Development of a Clinical Gerontology Lab for Physical Therapy Students: Curriculum Strategies
Creator Nelson, Jennifer
Subject Physical Therapists; Education, Professional; Curriculum; Physical Therapy Specialty; Health Services for the Aged; Physical Examination; Geriatric Assessment; Rehabilitation; Recovery of Function; Gerontology; Aging Populations; Geriatric Care
Description Physical therapists are currently being educated and trained to be "generalists". Most physical therapy curricula are designed with the intent of providing the basic components necessary to treat any patient population. The students are encouraged to obtain "specialized" education through their choice of clinical affiliations. Considering the growing numbers of elderly, and the large proportion of rehabilitation they require, this population is no longer a rare and special group, rather a common and frequent customer of rehabilitation. Since the majority of physical therapists will be treating clients over the age of 65, it is imperative that more gerontology education be included in the therapy curriculum. The Division of Physical Therapy (Division) at the University of Utah (University) has required the students enrolled in the second year of the curriculum to take an overview course in clinical gerontology taught by the faculty in the College of Nursing. Subsequent to a change by the University to a semester system in the summer of 1998, the course was eliminated from the nursing and gerontology curricula. Realizing the importance of gerontology education for physical therapists, the Division negotiated with the Director and the Faculty of the Long Term Gerontology Care Center in the College of Nursing to teach the course for second year physical students through-the Division of Continuing Education (DCE). Given the responses by students on evaluations of the course from previous years, it was determined to restructure the course offering and add a laboratory (lab) component to the didactic course. The intent was to combine the didactic and lab experience to enhance the meaning of the course for physical therapy students. Thus, the goal of this research project was to develop a clinical gerontology lab to provide physical therapy students the opportunity to enhance clinical skills and understand interdisciplinary issues related to the needs o f the geriatric client. The use of the term geriatric in this project was meant to define a population of clients over the age of 65, similar to the use of the term pediatric. It was not intended to limit the focus of the study to medicine and disease. It was considered important by the author that students taking the lab have a global understanding of issues that are important to this population. With this in mind, students were encouraged to empathize and try to understand "the process of aging and the problems of aged people" (Guralnik, 1978). In Chapter I demographic trends and health care concerns are described to justify why this course is essential to the physical therapy curriculum. Chapter II examines the requirements for licensure and explores how the current curriculum prepares the physical therapy student to become licensed and begin treating patients, Chapter III proposes the rationale for this project. Through a literature review, a nationwide curriculum study, demographics, and projected health care trends, this chapter further supports the need for this course to be added to the curriculum of the Division. Chapter IV provides an overview of the Clinical Gerontology Lab Course including such items as educational aims, 5 prerequisites for the course, topics to be included, location and format of the various lab topics, and qualifications of the instructor. Chapter V addresses week by week, the topics to be covered, objectives, methods of instruction, and materials to be used in the lab course. The course format was based on a 15- week semester with a "grace" week for holidays and a week for final exams. Chapter VI presents the evaluation of the lab course, and Chapter VII concludes the findings of this project. This course is not meant to replace a geriatric clinical internship, where students spend 6 weeks in a clinical setting working on clinical skills and treating geriatric patients. It is a supplement to the current curriculum that helps students prepare better physical therapy treatments for a client population they will encounter.
Publisher Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Date 1999
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Jennifer Nelson 1999
Holding Institution Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Scanning Technician sg
Metadata Cataloger AMT
Name Jennifer Nelson
Type Text
ARK ark:/87278/s6768cmd
Setname ehsl_gerint
Date Created 2013-02-08
Date Modified 2018-06-08
ID 179499
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6768cmd
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