Use of Simulation in U.S. Physical Therapist Programs: A Multiple Case Study
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TitleUse of Simulation in U.S. Physical Therapist Programs: A Multiple Case Study
AbstractThis study explored how U.S. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs integrate and implement simulation-based learning into their curricula. While recent research takes a broad view of how physical therapy (PT) programs are using simulation, this research sought an in-depth understanding by exploring the questions about (1) how are programs integrating simulation into curricula, (2) how are programs designing and implementing simulation, (3) what are barriers or challenges to simulation use, and (4) how are programs using simulation for interprofessional education. This exploration spans across three manuscripts. The first manuscript is a systematic literature review, which examines current published research regarding how PT programs use simulation. The review of the literature showed that many programs use simulation to replicate the acute care setting, to address interprofessional education, and to assess clinical decision-making skills. The second and third manuscripts are qualitative case studies that examine in-depth how three different PT programs use simulation in their curricula. The empirical research part of this dissertation was a multiple case study design. Three DPT programs were selected for their diversity from volunteers who responded to a national call for participants. Three one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom with all three participants. Artifacts were also gathered to enrich the interview discussions and enhance data analysis, such as plans of study, simulation planning documents, debriefing guides, case information, and assessment rubrics. Utilizing Saldaña’s Themeing the Data approach for data analysis of the interview revealed a consensus on important aspects of curricular integration, planning and executing effective simulations, and challenges with conducting simulations. Additionally, Interprofessional Education Collaborative Core Competencies underscored interprofessional simulations. Finally, participants agreed that collaboration of participating programs and intentional integration in the design and planning phases of simulations are necessary to accomplish effective learning events. The findings from this study serve to further understanding of how PT programs use simulation, to identifying existing gaps in following best practices, and to continuing the push towards developing standards of best practice and assessment specifically for simulation use in PT education.