Comparison of two clinical education models on the functioning of three acute care physical therapy departments

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan - Committee Chair


This study explored productivity of physical therapists in mentorship and collaborative clinical education models in three acute care clinics to respond to the questions: (1) How does the implementation of a collaborative model influence the productivity of a physical therapy department in an acute care setting over a six week period? (2) How does the implementation of a mentorship model influence the productivity? (3) How and why does the implementation of a collaborative model differ from a mentorship model?The study was performed as a multiple case study design. (Yin, 1993). Data were collected from three clinics located in South Florida which were serving as clinical sites for students in the final clinical experiences. Internal validity was established using multiple sources of evidence. These included document reviews, interviews, focus group discussions, and observations. Data were collected during periods in which: the clinical instructor (CI) was involved in a mentorship model, when involved in the collaborative model and when the CI had no student responsibilities as a baseline.Data analysis, followed a pattern matching approach looking for repeated trends across the multiple sources of evidence within and between case studies (Miles and Huberman 1994). This pattern matching involved triangulation of data in which at least three separate sources were matched to support a conclusion. Reliability was strengthened by following the predetermined multiple case study design in which replication logic increased the confidence level and robustness of the study (Yin 1993, 1994).Differences were found between the collaborative and mentorship models. The collaborative model was the more productive model. Patients were seen for longer sessions with greater variety and creativity of treatments. Students were more active in the learning process, were independent sooner, and evaluation revolved around identification of student strengths. The mentorship model increased the cost of clinical education in terms of time, energy and resources. CIs did not value the mentorship process, noting that the mentorship model required them to slow down and provide students with information. CIs used different styles of supervision, demonstrated different behaviors in the implementation of the different models, and expressed different expectations of students.


Health Sciences, Education; Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Health Sciences, Health Care Management

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