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Clarke ‘Hot Seat’ Serves as Model for Physical Therapy Programs

posted on March 23, 2009

Students in Clarke College’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program know what it’s like to be in the “hot seat” – all thanks to an educational model created by the College’s physical therapy faculty  to improve students’ confidence in clinical decision-making.

Each semester, Clarke’s physical therapy department hosts “hot seat” events, in which area clinicians work in small groups with students to discuss actual clinical cases. During the small group interaction, students benefit from being able to suggest recommended diagnosis and treatment plans for the case while receiving feedback and answering questions from the clinician.

Based on survey results indicating the positive effects of “hot seat” sessions, Clarke’s physical therapy faculty were selected to have an article published in the January 2009 edition of International Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practices, entitled  “The Hot Seat: Challenging Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills in Physical Therapist Students.”

Clarke’s next “hot seat” will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, at 6:15 p.m. in the Catherine Byrne Hall on the Clarke campus. Media are invited to cover the event.

“We know that the students and local clinicians involved in the “Hot Seat” find it to be a very valuable learning experience,” said Bill O’Dell, PT, associate professor of physical therapy. “Publication of this article will hopefully encourage other schools to adopt the ‘hot seat’ education model into their own curriculum.”

A survey of “hot seat” participants identified that students perceived the forums as beneficial for improving their confidence with critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and a strength in their educational program. The authors believe this interactive educational method can be adapted to improve students’ confidence in clinical reasoning in any allied health profession education program.

“The ‘hot seat’ is a first look at the problem-solving thought process a physical therapist goes through when working with patients,” said Josiah Polito, who is in his first year of the graduate program. “It’s an introduction into real-world application of the material learned in class.”

Authors of the article were: Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Bill O'Dell, PT, DHS; Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Jennifer Mai, DPT; Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Alecia Thiele, DPT; Chair and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Andrew Priest, PT, Ed.D.; and former Clarke faculty member Kathleen Salamon, DPT.

For more information, contact the Clarke College Marketing and Communication Office at (563)588-6318.

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