Date of Award
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Ethics, Professional; Physical Therapy Specialty -- education; Physical Therapy Specialty -- ethics
Physical therapists are faced with many ethical dilemmas in the work place. Therefore, it is important for a physical therapy student to have the ability to make sound ethical decisions. However, there are no classes required by the physical therapy department in ethics at the University of North Dakota. The purpose of this study is to examine the ability of physical therapy students and the faculty at the University of North Dakota to make ethical decisions.
During the summer of 2004, the Defining Issues Test II (DIT-2) was administered at the University of North Dakota. The DIT-2 is a structured objective test that consists of five dilemmas. The test includes a demographic survey with questions regarding age, gender, level of education, political views, citizenship, and primary language.
The subjects in this study were physical therapy students and faculty at the University of North Dakota. The students included those expected to graduate in spring of2005 and 2006 from the University of North Dakota. The subjects were asked to voluntarily take the DIT-2 and informed consent was demonstrated through completing the questionnaire. The DIT-2 scores from physical therapy faculty and students were compared to the national norms (n=10, 553) using single sample t statistics. There was no significant difference between UND faculty £ scores and the national norms (F(6) =.136, P = .896). Similar findings were present for the N2 scores (F(6) = - .401, P = .702).
There was a significant difference between UND students 2005 :e scores and the national norms (F(34) = - 5.907, P < .001). A similar findings was present with the N2 scores (F(34) = - 6.284, P < .001). There was a significant difference between UND students (2006):e scores and the national norms (F(43) = - 4.894, P < .001). A similar finding was present with the N2 scores (F(43) = - 4.365, P < .001). The UND students means for all scores were below national means.
The DIT-2:e scores of the faculty and students were compared using a One-way ANOV A as all assumptions for parametric testing were met. A significant difference was found between groups (F(2, 82) = 5.708, P = .005; eta squared = .122; power = .853). Scheffe's post hoc analysis revealed a significant difference between faculty and graduates of2005 (p = .005) and between faculty and graduates of2006 (p = .018). Faculty scores were significantly higher than the student scores.
The N2 scores of the faculty and students were compared using a One-way ANOV A, as all assumptions for parametric testing were met. A significant difference was found between groups (F(2,82) = 3.802, p = .026; eta squared= .85; power = .677). Scheffe's post hoc analysis revealed a significant difference between faculty and graduates of2005 (p = .031), with the faculty N2 score higher. There was no difference in N2 scores between faculty and graduates of 2006 (p = .152) or between student groups (p = .388).
Significant correlations were found between age and P scores (r = + .387, n = 82, p < .001; ~ = .150) and between age and N2 scores (r = + .260, n = 82, p = .018; ~ = .067). Findings on age are consistent with other researchers.
The DIT -2 :e. scores and N2 scores of men and women were compared using a One-way ANOV A, as all assumptions for parametric testing were met. No significant difference was found between groups for the P scores (F (1,83) = .277, P = .600; eta squared = .003; power = .082), or for the N2 scores (F (1,83) = 1.450, P = .232; eta squared = .017; power = .222). See Table 3 for descriptive statistics of the groups.
The DIT scores were compared between political groups described as very liberal, liberal, neutral, conservative, and very conservative were compared. No significant difference was found between groups for the P. scores (F (4,78) = .449, P = .772; eta squared = .023; power = .150), or for the N2 scores (F (4,78) = .241, P = .914; eta squared = .012; power = .100).
Given the results of the DIT-2, it appears that the physical therapy department needs to seek classes that promote ethical decision making. To accomplish this, there needs to be continued longitudinal research in this area. The deficiency in scores is not due to the knowledge of the faculty for they scored well within the norms. The problem may be due to the lack of proper curriculum to foster the students moral development.
One solution to the problem is a class in physical therapy ethics. The department already requires 9 prerequisite credits in arts and humanities, requiring 3 of those credits a class in physical therapy ethics. This would allow the students to attain the tools they needed before entering the professional program. Having the skills early would allow students to assess moral dilemmas they face in the professional program and foster their skills even more.
Fox, Russell B., "An Evaluation of the Ability of Physical Therapy Students at the University of North Dakota to Make Ethical Decisions" (2005). Physical Therapy Scholarly Projects. 150.