Meaning of Caring to 7 Novice Physical Therapists During Their First Year of Clinical Practice

B. H Greenfield, A. Anderson, B. Cox, M. C. Tanner
2008 Physical Therapy  
During Their First Year of Clinical Practice Meaning of Caring to 7 Novice Physical Therapists found online at: The online version of this article, along with updated information and services, can be Online-Only Material 154.DC1.html Background and Purpose. Caring has been identified as a rules-based approach to good patient care, as a core value in physical therapist professional behavior, as a part of experienced and expert practice, as a virtue,
more » ... ice, as a virtue, and as a moral orientation. Previous research showed that experienced and expert female physical therapists value compassion and caring in clinical practice. However, little is known about how novice physical therapists care for their patients. The purpose of this study was to explore the meaning of caring from the perspectives of novice physical therapists. Subjects. Seven novice physical therapists (with less than 1 year of clinical experience) working in either an outpatient or an inpatient facility were recruited. Methods. A qualitative method (phenomenology) was used, with data being obtained from retrospective interviews of the novice physical therapists regarding their experiences in the clinic. Results. Three common themes relating to the nature of caring emerged: learning to care (with the following subthemes: barriers to caring, the "difficult" patient, finding a balance, and time constraints), patients as subjects, and the culture of the clinic. Discussion and Conclusion. The novice physical therapists in this study expressed difficulty in dealing with difficult patients, with time management, and with balancing their professional and personal lives. However, despite the barriers to caring, many of these participants viewed caring not just as a rules-based approach but as a core value and, in some cases, a moral orientation that guided their first year of clinical practice. The findings suggest that caring requires certain skills and attitudes that accrue over time and that physical therapist education programs should integrate learning experiences (including clinical experiences) throughout the curriculum that foster caring behaviors in order to prepare students for the first-year transition in the clinic. In addition, experienced clinicians should appreciate how their clinic's culture and their behaviors can help model caring attitudes in novice physical therapists. Downloaded from 33 Jensen GM, Shepard KF, Gwyer J, Hack LM. Attribute dimensions that distinguish master and novice physical therapy clinicians in orthopedic settings. Phys Ther. 1992;72:711-722. 34 Jensen GM, Richert AE. Reflection on teaching of ethics in physical therapist education: integrating cases, theory, and learning. J Phys Ther Educ. 2005;19(3): 78 -85. 35 Mostrom E. Teaching and learning about ethical and human dimensions of care in clinical education: exploring student and clinical instructor experiences in physical therapy. In: Purtilo RB, Jensen GM, Royeen C, eds. Educating for Moral Action: A Sourcebook in Health and Rehabilitation Ethics. Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis Co; 2005:263-283. 36 Branch WT Jr, Kern D, Haidet P, et al. The patient-physician relationship: teaching the human dimensions of care in clinical settings.
doi:10.2522/ptj.20070339 pmid:18719004 fatcat:axsobefpifegrkx2fr63n7prq4