Date of Award
Curriculum & Instruction
Curriculum and Instruction
Ivan Gill, PhD
With a growing and more diverse population nationally, physical therapist programs have evolved to meet the demands for physical therapists in our healthcare system. Despite the substantial efforts to increase student populations to meet workforce shortage, 5-35% will depart in the early years of their program. Current evidence suggests the association of measurable factors with students’ academic success in physical therapist education. However, these measurable factors have accounted for a small variance in explaining the experiences of academic success. In order to sustain the current healthcare system, physical therapist programs need to ensure that students persist and graduate.
The purposes of this qualitative study are to explore how recent graduates experience the first year of a physical therapist program and how these experiences contribute to academic success and persistence. Eleven recent physical therapist graduates were interviewed for the study. Program, student, and participant-generated documents were collected. Six themes emerged from the data: (a) establishing career goals, (b) evolving expectations from undergraduate to professional education, (c) encountering transitions in personal, social, and financial aspects, (d) balancing multiple identities (e) seeking supports inside and outside of classroom, and (f) modifying strategies to overcome academic challenges. The findings of this study indicate that the participants navigated a complex educational environment by integrating social and academic experiences to achieve their academic success. The findings can be used to inform physical therapist and undergraduate programs as well as potential and current first-year students.
Hoang, Thuha, "Exploring the Lived Experiences of Academic Success in the First Year of a Physical Therapist Program" (2019). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2610.
Available for download on Thursday, May 23, 2024