Physical Therapy: Assessing Communication Skills via Interactive Lab

Title: Assessment of communication skills and the change in knowledge and valuing of Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant students through completion of one interactive lab
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Physical Therapy
Authors: Erin Hussey, Paul Reuteman, Gwyn Straker, Michele Thorman (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse), Jeff Komay (Western Technical College – La Crosse), Carrie Rowan (student member from UW-La Crosse)
Date: May 22, 2008

Executive Summary

Purpose: The PT-PTA lesson study team designed a project to develop awareness and appreciation for professional and technically trained colleagues within the first year of each academic program. Both programs are housed in the Health Science Center. In the past, an interactive activity had occurred only within the final academic semester of each program so this project was designed to integrate these students earlier during their educational experience. As health care providers, PT assistants provide technically skilled assistance to the PT in providing services to consumers. Therefore, the learning activity was designed to improve student awareness of each others’ background training, clinical skills, and expected roles & responsibilities in work settings.

Learning Goals: The team developed five learning goals for the session that addressed how well students value the preferred PT-PTA relationship, recognize the educational rigor expected of each program, and experience an opportunity to and collaborate and learn from each other related to patient care activities.

Instructional Design: Within each program, students were introduced to the guiding principles for PT-PTA relationships on the basis of state statutes, the Wisconsin PT practice act, national professional policies, ethical guidelines, and consensus documents. Within the interactive lab, students managed one or more clinical cases (one case using role play in 2007 adjusted to 14 mini-cases using discussion in 2008) during which they had the opportunity to interact on educational background, clinical training, and to develop a mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities.

Major Findings: The Lesson Study team concluded that this activity was worthwhile. The data and feedback indicate that students benefit from and value an opportunity to focus on PT and PTA backgrounds, clinical training, roles and responsibilities in an interactive manner. In addition, there were indicators that the format of the lesson plan for 2008 was more effective in achieving the learning goals when compared to data and feedback from 2007. Primary course instructors were encouraged to continue the lesson study process with further integration of content across the program in addition to continuing to hold one interactive lab at the end of the first academic year. A second lab session held later in the academic programs is recommended as follow-up with a focus on promoting a more advanced awareness of clinical roles relative to more complex clinical considerations.

Nursing: Learning About Nursing History

Title: Freshman Seminar in Nursing: Learning about Nursing History
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Nursing
Authors: Elizabeth Devine, Susan Fontana,. Florence Selder, Laurie Glass, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Submission Date: January 30, 2007

Executive Summary:

The one hour class period in which nursing history was taught in Freshman Seminar in Nursing was the focus of this study. The short-term, lesson-specific goals for the lesson were [a] that students will identify 3 major themes that capture the ways in which the nursing profession evolved, and [b] that given exposure to nursing artifacts, students will discuss form and function of these artifacts as they relate to technology and the work of the nurse. The short-term, general course goal addressed in this lesson was that students will complete assigned homework as evidenced by their participation in class discussion.

The lesson plan included various interactive methods to address the three themes that have undergone change as the nursing profession has evolved overt time. These themes are [A] the Identity of the Nurse, [B] Nursing Service/Practice, and [C] the Work of Nursing including the technologies used in nursing care.

Activities included a homework assignment, short lecture and guided discussion on the themes that used the homework assignment and involved passing around historic artifacts, a small group discussion of a job description of bedside nursing in the 1887, and small group activity in the Nursing Historical Gallery where students discussed artifacts and ways in which the work of the nurse has changed over time.

After obtaining informed consent, two cohorts of students enrolled in Freshmen Seminar in Nursing were studied. Data were collected using non-participant observation. The lesson plan was revised based on data derived from observing the first cohort of students. Based on 0 to 10 scales, where 0 is strongly disagree and 10 is strongly agree, the average across scores for student being attentive, responsive, and understanding of the concepts addressed, the average scores from two observers were as follows.

  • For the whole class lecture/guided discussion the means were 8.5 for Cohort One and 9.5 for Cohort Two.
  • For the small group discussion of a job description of bedside nursing from 1887 the means were 6 for Cohort One and 9.8 for Cohort Two.
  • For the small group work in the Nursing Historical Gallery the means were 9.8 for Cohort One and 10 for Cohort Two.

During the lecture/guided discussion part of the class, using homework-based activities allowed the content to be addressed in a more interactive manner than when lecture was the primary mode of content delivery. The small group discussion of a job description of bedside nursing from 1887 was the weakest part of the lesson. After observing the first cohort of students, this activity was simplified and it was much more successful with the second cohort of students. The activities in the Historical Gallery were characterized by excellent participation and thoughtful discussion in both cohorts of students.

Links to the lesson plan and the materials used to each it: