Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Physical Therapists -- education; Personnel Selection; Professional Competence; Professionalism


Background and Purpose: Clinical experiences provide the student with the opportunity to practice technical skills as well as soft skills. This opportunity may benefit the student in future employment at the clinical facility. As the clinical experiences are at various time periods throughout the coursework, many students feel that the later sessions of clinical experiences may be more beneficial in employment opportunities upon graduation. Students also feel that grade point average plays an important role in potential employment opportunities.

Methods: A survey was developed to identify the influence clinical experience session times and student characteristics that support future employment with the clinical site. The survey was sent to 148 potential participants from 20 different states. Scores were tabulated from the survey; age, gender and practice setting were cross-tabulated with overall results to determine any trends in responses.

Participants: Sixty-six clinical instructors, CCCE's and clinic managers from sixteen different states responded to the survey. The participants were from various physical therapy clinics including, pediatric, inpatient acute, inpatient rehab, outpatient ambulatory care, home health, rural and private practice. There were 20 (31.7%) males and 43 (68.3%) females who participated in the survey.

Results: There were no differences in responses about the timing of clinical experiences and the influence on future employment with the facility. Both clinical experience sessions (midway or later in the program) provide an equal opportunity for future employment with the clinical site. Grade point average was not an important factor when considering a recent graduate for employment. Personality traits or soft skills, play an important role in considering a recent graduate for employment with clinical experience site. Communication, interpersonal skills and professionalism are the most important soft skills a recent graduate can obtain to support future employment opportunities.

Discussion: Evidence from this study can support current physical therapy students and other healthcare professional students in the decision-making aspects of clinical experiences with the intent of future employment at clinical experience facility. Also, physical therapy students will be better informed about the importance of enhancing soft skills during physical therapy coursework to provide increased employment opportunities.