nchristensen

Faculty Profile

Nicole Christensen
Nicole
Christensen
PT, PhD
Department Chair and Associate Professor
Doctor of Physical Therapy
nchristensen@samuelmerritt.edu
510-869-6511

I am an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.  I have taught physical therapy at Samuel Merritt University since 2006. My area of expertise and scholarship is the facilitation of clinical reasoning development in learners at all professional levels. This passion has extended to the mentoring of others, focused on effective teaching and faciliation of learning of clinical reasoning in both academic and clinical education settings--clinical reasoning characterized by collaboration, person centeredness, and a commitment to intentional critical reflection. I have been a practicing physical therapist in the musculoskeletal setting for over 25 years, taught at the entry level since 1994 and have been involved in post-professional physical therapy residency and fellowship education since 2000. 

I earned my B.A. in Biological Sciences at San Jose State University, with a Minor in Humanities. I then began my education in physical therapy at the University of California San Francisco where I earned a B.S and Certificate. I travelled to Adelaide, South Australia to earn my Master of Applied Science in Manipulative Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia. I earned a PhD in Health Sciences at the University of South Australia, with a research focus on clinical reasoning and education. Most recently I completed the American Physical Therapy Association's Educational Leadership Institute (ELI) Fellowship Program, and became an ELI Fellow in 2014. 

  • Clinical reasoning
  • Clinical Mentoring
  • Narrative reasoning and collaborative person-centered care
  • Integration of pain science into clinical reasoning
  • Simulation/standardized patients
  • Professional Entry-Level Education of Physical Therapists
  • Residency and Fellowship Education of Physical Therapists
  • Qualitative research

Since 2006 I have taught in the SMU DPT program. The courses I currently teach include our capstone project series, and some team teaching in our
Patient Client Management: Musculoskeletal I, II, and III courses.
 

My doctoral research and subsequent research activity has focused on clinical reasoning; more specifically the teaching and learning of clinical reasoning in physical therapists. Currently I am involved in collaborative research projects exploring how clinical reasoning is conceptualized by the physical therapist profession, and how this should be expanded, clinical reasoning development and mentoring in residency & fellowship education.

  Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications:

  • Huhn K, Black L, Christensen N, Furze J, Vendrely A, Wainwright S. Clinical reasoning: survey of teaching methods and assessment in entry-level physical therapist education. JOPTE, accepted for publication.
  • Christensen N, Black L, Furze J, Huhn K, Vendrely A, Wainwright S. Clinical reasoning: survey of teaching methods, integration, and assessment in entry-level physical therapist academic education. Phys Ther 2017; 97(2): 175-186. 
  • Hoeger Bement MK, St Marie BJ, Nordstrom TM, Christensen N, Mongoven JM, Koebner IJ, Fishman SM, Sluka KA. An interprofessional consensus of core competencies for prelicensure education in pain management: curriculum application for physical therapy. Phys Ther 2014; 94(4):451-465.

Other Peer-Reviewed & Invited Scholarly Publications

  • Christensen N, Jones MA, Rivett D. Strategies to facilitate clinical reasoning development. In: Jones M, Rivett D (eds) Clinical Reasoning in Musculoskeletal Practice. 2nd ed, Elsevier; 2017. In press.
  • Christensen N, Jensen G. Developing clinical reasoning capability. In: Higgs J, Jensen G, Loftus S, Christensen N. Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 4th ed., Elsevier; 2017. In press.
  • Christensen N, Loftus S, Gwin T. Peer learning to develop clinical reasoning skills. In: Higgs J, Jensen G, Loftus S, Christensen N. Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 4th ed., Elsevier; 2017. In press.
  • Christensen N, Villanueva C, Grieve S. Learning reasoning using simulation. In: Higgs J, Jensen G, Loftus S, Christensen N. Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 4th ed., Elsevier; 2017. In press.
  • Huggett K, Christensen N, Jensen G, Maio A. Learning to research clinical reasoning. In: Higgs J, Jensen G, Loftus S, Christensen N. Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 4th ed., Elsevier; 2017. In press.
  • Patton N, Christensen N. Pedagogies for teaching and learning clinical reasoning. In: Higgs J, Jensen G, Loftus S, Christensen N. Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 4th ed., Elsevier; 2017. In press.
  • Christensen N, Boyd B, Tonley J. Clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice. Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, 4th ed. Independent Study Course 26.2.1. La Crosse, WI: Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc., 2016.
  • Christensen N, Black L, Jensen G. Physiotherapy clinical placements and learning to reason. In: Higgs J, Sheehan D, Baldry-Currens J,  Letts W, Jensen G. Realising Exemplary Practice-Based Education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2013:135-142.
  • Christensen N, Nordstrom T. Facilitating the teaching and learning of clinical reasoning. In: Jensen G, Mostrom E, Shepard K. Handbook of Teaching for Physical Therapists, 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier-Butterworth-Heinemann; 2013:183-199.
  • Christensen N. Student physical therapists’ understanding and learning of clinical reasoning. [Abstract]. Physiother. 201197, Supplement S1. 
  • Christensen N, Jones M, Edwards I.  Clinical reasoning and Evidence-based practice. Orthopaedic Section Independent Study Course ISC 21.2, Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, 3rd Edition. La Crosse, WI.: Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc.; 2011.
  • Bithell C, Bowles W, Christensen N. Issues in design and management of fieldwork education. In: McAllister L, Paterson M, Higgs J, Bithell C (eds.): Innovations in Allied Health Fieldwork Education: A Critical Appraisal. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers; 2010:61-74.
  • Christensen N, Jones M, Edwards I, Higgs J. Helping physiotherapy students develop clinical reasoning capability. In: Higgs J, Jones M, Loftus S, Christensen N (eds.): Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 3rd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier-Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:389-396.
  • Christensen N, Jones M, Higgs J, Edwards I. The development of clinical reasoning capability. In: Higgs J, Jones M, Loftus S, Christensen N (eds.): Clinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 3rd ed. Amsterdam:. Elsevier-Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:101-110.
  • Christensen N, Jones MA. Clinical Reasoning and Evidence-based Practice.  Home Study Course 16.2: Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. La Crosse, WI: Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc.; 2006.
  • Christensen N, Jones M, Edwards I. Clinical reasoning in the diagnosis and management of spinal pain. In: Boyling JD, Jull GA (eds.): Grieve’s Modern Manual Therapy: The vertebral column, 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2004:391-404.
  • Christensen, N, Jones, MA, Carr J. Clinical Reasoning in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy.  In:  Grant, R. (Ed.):  Physical Therapy of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine, 3rd ed.  New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2002: 85-104.
  • Jones, MA, Christensen, N, Carr J. Clinical Reasoning in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy.  In:  Grant R (Ed):  Physical Therapy of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine, 2nd ed.  New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 1994: 89-108

Book editor:

  • Higgs J, Jensen G, Loftus S, Christensen NClinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 4th ed. Elsevier; in press. 
  • Higgs J, Jones M, Loftus S, Christensen NClinical Reasoning in the Health Professions, 3rd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier-Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008. 
  • Christensen N, Jensen G. Clinical Reasoning: Concepts, Structures, and Possibilities. Reimagining Clinical Reasoning: Entry Level, Residency, and Fellowship Physical Therapist Education and Practice Symposium. Education Section, APTA. Omaha, NE, July 21, 2017
  • Christensen N, Barr JB, Farrell J. Strategies for Facilitating Self-Reflection in Residency Education. Clinical Reasoning: Concepts, Structures, and Possibilities. Reimagining Clinical Reasoning: Entry Level, Residency, and Fellowship Physical Therapist Education and Practice Symposium. Education Section, APTA. Omaha, NE, July 22, 2017
  • Huhn K, Black L, Christensen N, Gilliland S, Wainwright S. Clinical Reasoning: A Concept Analysis. Platform Presentation. World Confederation of Physical Therapy Congress, Cape Town, South Africa. July 4, 2017
  • Grieve S, Christensen N. Optimizing Educational Outcomes: Applying Cognitive Load Theory to Instructional Design. Educational Leadership Conference, Phoenix, AZ, October 7, 2016
  • Christensen N, Black L, Jensen GM. Exploring the Transformation of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment of Clinical Reasoning in Residency Education. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, Anaheim, CA. February 18th , 2016
  • Jin K, Christensen N. Physical Therapy Management of a Patient with Chronic Low Back Pain Using a Combined Approach of Therapeutic Neuroscience Education and Graded Activity: a Case Report. California Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference, Pasadena, CA. September 26-27, 2015 
  • Huhn K, Black L, Christensen N, Vendrely A, Wainwright S. National Survey Regarding Teaching Clinical Reasoning in the Classroom and Clinic in the United States of America. Research poster report presented at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress, Singapore. May 4, 2015.
  • Christensen N, Black L, Furze L, Huhn K, Wainwright S. An Exploration of Clinical Reasoning Curriculum and Assessment in Physical Therapist Education. Research platform report presented at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, Indianapolis, IN. Presented February 7, 2015.
  • Black L, Christensen N, Furze J, Huhn K, Vendrely A, Wainwright S. Taking Our Pulse: Clinical Reasoning in the Classroom and Clinic. Education section session presented at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, Indianapolis, IN. Presented February 7, 2015.
  • Furze J, Jensen GM, Rapport MJ, Christensen N, Briggs M, Paschal K, Hartley G, Nordstrom T. Domains of Professional Competence: Looking Across the Educational Continuum. Education section session presented at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, Indianapolis, IN. Presented February 5, 2015.
  • Christensen N, Black L, Jensen G, Gwyer J, Dore D. Clinical Reasoning As A Learning Trajectory: Intentional Integration From Entry‐Level to Residency Education.  Presentation at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. Las Vegas, NV. Presented February 6, 2014.
  • Christensen N, Black L, Jensen G. Clinical reasoning: Explicit strategies for making the invisible visible. Presentation at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. San Diego, CA. Presented January 23, 2013.
  • Christensen N. Student Physical Therapists’ Understanding and Learning of Clinical Reasoning. Platform Presentation, World Physical Therapy 2011, World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2011.
  • Nordstrom T, Christensen N. Integrating Clinical Reasoning and Ethical Reasoning in Physical Therapist Entry-Level Education. Presentation at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. Las Vegas, NV. Presented February 12, 2009.
  • American Physical Therapy Association's Educational Leadership Institute Fellowship Program 2013-2014.  

 

  • Christensen N. Clinical reasoning & Mentoring for Residents & Mentors. Health Care Partners Residency Program. Torrence, CA. August 4, 2017.
  • Christensen N. Optimizing Mentoring of Clinical Reasoning in the Clinical Setting. Boston University Clinical Coordinators, Clinical Faculty, Residency/Fellowship Directors & Mentors Workshop. Boston University, Boston, MA. June 19, 2017.
  • Christensen N. Clinical Mentoring: Facilitating Learning From Reasoning in Practice. Annual UCSF/SFSU & SMU CCCE Meeting. Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA. March 27, 2013.
  • Christensen N. Mentoring: Facilitating Optimal Learning in Practice. Workshop for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program and University of Southern California Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program Faculty. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. October 27th, 2012.
  • Christensen N. Professional Mentoring Development. Workshop for Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Consortium Program Directors. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. July 29, 2012
  • Christensen N. Professional Mentoring Development: Follow-up Workshop. Workshop for Kaiser Permanente Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program and Kaiser Vallejo PNF Program Faculty Mentors. Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA. June 23, 2012
  • Christensen N. Clinical Mentoring to Promote Learning Of and From Clinical Reasoning. Workshop for Kaiser Permanente Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program. Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA. July 9th, 2011.
  • Christensen N. Introduction to Clinical Reasoning and Strategies for Facilitating Clinical Reasoning in the Clinical Setting. Annual UCSF/SFSU & SMU CCCE Meeting. Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA. April 19, 2011
  • Christensen N. Introduction to Clinical Reasoning; Clinical reasoning and pain. St. Jude’s Rehabilitation Center Residency Program. Brea, CA. July 12, 2009
  • Christensen N. Clinical Reasoning Series. MVP Physical Therapy Residency Program. Tacoma, WA. July 31, September 11, & October 9, 2008
  • Christensen N​​​Clinical Reasoning in Health Professions Education: Exploring the concept and context of clinical reasoning in practice. Faculty Development Workshop (core, adjunct, and clinical faculty attendees). Samuel Merritt College, August 28th, 2006.
  • Christensen N. 18th Annual CEF/IACCC Clinical Education Workshop: Facilitating Clinical Reasoning in the Clinical Setting. Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, CA. June 17, 1997. 

Professional Memberships:

  • American Physical Therapy Association, Orthopaedic, Research, and Education Sections, Member
  • Residency & Fellowship Education Special Interest Group (RFESIG), Education Section of APTA,  Member
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, Member and previously a Fellow (1997-2007)
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA), Member

Professional Service:

  • Program planning Committee for national conference sponsored by the Education Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and the RFESIG: Clinical Reasoning Symposium, Creighton University, Omaha NE, July 20-23, 2017.
  • American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT), Institutional Representative
  • Secretary, Clinical Reasoning Consortium of ACAPT
  • American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education Mentoring Task Force member, authors of The Mentoring Resource Manual 2014.
  • Peer reviewer for:
    • ​Physical Therapy Journal
    • Journal of Physical Therapy Education
    • Manual Therapy
    • Physical Therapy Reviews

History

Member for
11 years 1 week

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