Acute Care Physical Therapist Practice Analysis Identifies Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviors That Reflect Acute Care Practice

Appeared in: Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association

Discussion Podcast: Acute Care Physical Therapist Practice Analysis

Participants: Sharon L. Gorman, PT, DPTSc, GCS, PT, DPTSc, GCS, Chairperson of the Subject Matter Expert Group, APTA Acute Care Section, and Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, California; and Jim Smith, PT, DPT, President, APTA Acute Care Section, and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Utica College, Utica, New York. Moderator: Patricia Ohtake, PT, PhD, PTJ Editorial Board Member.

In the October 2010 issue, PTJ published the first nationwide practice analysis of acute care physical therapy: "Nationwide Acute Care Physical Therapist Practice Analysis Identifies Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviors That Reflect Acute Care Practice." Lead author Sharon Gorman, Jim Smith, and Patricia Ohtake discuss the results of this practice analysis and how they can be used by education programs in preparing students to meet the unique needs of the complex acute care environment. What makes a successful acute care physical therapist? Are there specific personality characteristics that enable a physical therapist to be effective in the acute care setting, or does success depend more on the professional evolution from novice to expert practitioner?

Quick Grabs

Dr. Jim Smith: "With this study, we're really taking our first large step in clarifying who the acute care physical therapist is."

Dr. Sharon Gorman: "The background thinking, problem solving, and decision making while you are doing the intervention are what sets acute care practitioners apart."

Dr. Jim Smith: "The challenge is cardiothoracic surgeries being done and patients being discharged home within 4 days."

Dr. Sharon Gorman: "Making sure that everybody is on the same page with what you are recommending becomes something that physical therapists need to be very effective at."

References Cited in This Discussion

Jette DU, Bacon K, Batty C, et al. Evidence-based practice: beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of physical therapists. Phys Ther. 2003;83:786-805.

Brown CJ, Redden DT, Flood KL, Allman RM. The underrecognized epidemic of low mobility during hospitalization of older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009;57:1660-1665.

Smith BA, Fields CJ, Fernandez N. Physical therapists make accurate and appropriate discharge recommendations for patients who are acutely ill. Phys Ther. 2010;90:693-703.

Sanders B, Surufka M, Tito N, Smith JM. Impressions of physical therapy students towards hospital-based physical therapy care. Poster presented at the 2010 Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association; February 17-20, 2010; San Diego, California.

Malone DJ. The new demands of acute care: are we ready? editorial. Phys Ther. 2010;90:1370-1372.

Sharon Gorman, PT, DPTSc, GCS, is an Associate Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program


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