Objectives: The goal is to enhance MS-related competencies of annual cohorts of Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students in order to graduate DPT students with skilled competencies specific to MS. The evaluation format includes graduated and current scholar competencies and activities, as well as feedback from the community and clinical professions engaged in program-related initiatives.
Methods: This 2-year track focuses on 4 elements: didactic learning, clinical experiences, service, and educational instruction. Students tailor class projects and readings to focus on MS. Clinical experiences allow students to work with PTs, neurologists, advocates, and researchers who work with this population. Students participate in community opportunities including MS Society events, board meetings, and self-help groups. The track is evaluated using qualitative and quantitative measures including: MS Competencies Rating Scale*, MS Activity Tracking Form, Graduate Activity Report, and qualitative feedback from MS/DPT scholars and graduates, patients, and preceptors.
Results: 10 DPT students are enrolled or have completed the MS Scholarship Track. Evaluation outcomes indicate increased student competencies in MS specific knowledge and skills. Student competencies indicate a change from a pre-program Likert Scale rating of “below average” to an end-program rating of “above average” in most domains. 2 program graduates are now MS certified specialists. Evaluation findings reflect program expansion beyond eastern NC as evidenced by delivery of teleconferences and career options.
Conclusions: Our goal is that this curriculum will serve as a national education model for other universities seeking to advance competencies of DPTs to provide services for individuals with MS.
*Adapted from Maternal and Child Health Bureau Leadership Development in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Competencies Rating Scale, 2009