Working with People with Parkinson’s Disease: Confidence and Self-Efficacy in 2nd Year DPT Students.

Kristen Cobus, Jamie Haines

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


<b>Background and Purpose</b><br>Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) programs strive to provide a well-rounded education to prepare students to work with people with neurologic conditions. Service-based learning outside of the classroom has been shown to improve confidence and skills necessary for clinical practice that are often difficult to address inside the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine if volunteering in a weekly exercise class for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PwPD) impacted confidence levels of DPT students when working with this population in clinical practice.<br><b>Subjects</b><br>38 second year DPT students who volunteered in the exercise class and 14 students who did not volunteer.<br><b>Methods</b><br>This was a mixed methods study. Subjects completed a 13-question survey rating their confidence level in various aspects of treating PwPD. Follow up interviews were completed individually. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and independent t-tests determined correlations between survey questions. A one-way ANOVA determined correlation based on hours volunteered and confidence statements. Interviews were transcribed and the constant comparative method resulted in identification of major themes from the interviews. <br><b>Results</b><br>There were no significant differences in self-reported confidence between the 38 students who volunteered when compared to the 14 students who did not. 36 subjects (25 volunteers and 11 non-volunteers) followed up with an interview. Students who volunteered in the exercise program felt the experience improved: 1) adaptability in managing unexpected situations, 2) creativity during exercise design, 3) relationship building and 4) appreciation for serving the community. Students who did not volunteer for the experience voiced that in hindsight, the experience could have been beneficial and reported not volunteering for these reasons: 1) more important priorities/lack of interest, 2) time commitment, 3) already confident in working with PwPD.<br><b>Conclusions</b><br>Although the survey showed no self-reported differences in student confidence, this experience was highly valued by the students that did participate. Students recognized their own growth in less tangible areas of practice such as adaptability, relationship building, and creativity because of the time spent interacting in this class with PwPD.<br><b>Clinical Relevance</b><br>Service-based learning allows for students to fine-tune areas difficult to master in the classroom. As Parkinson’s Disease (PD) becomes more prevalent, this type of service-based learning may be one option to improve readiness in students who will work with PwPD in clinical education experiences and practice after graduation.<b></b><br><br>
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Feb 2021
EventAmerican Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting - Virtual
Duration: Feb 1 2021Feb 28 2021


ConferenceAmerican Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting


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