Model Behavior for Clinical Instruction

Traits and Abilities that Lead to Positive Mentoring: Part III

Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as "the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person." As clinical Instructors, our model behavior is crucial to not only assisting our students in developing their own clinical skills and judgment, but also in their development of the necessary attributes of a professional Physical Therapist.

One may ask, "What makes a Physical Therapist Professional?" There are many facets to professionalism that may include clinical knowledge and skills, legal and ethical issues, collaboration with clients and colleagues. So, what can we do as clinical instructors to promote and develop professional behavior in ourselves and our students?

  1. Demonstrate Clinical Competence.
    • Use Evidence Based Practice to model sound clinical decision making
    • Be confident in your clinical reasoning and skills. Confidence is key when instructing our students as well as when communicating with other clinicians, payers' etc.
    • Although our goal as clinical instructors is to foster our students' own clinical reasoning, we must maintain our own confidence as well in order to model clinically competent behaviors.
  2. Present a Commitment to Lifelong Learning
    • Self assess on a regular basis to identify areas of growth and developmental needs.
    • Medbridge offers Certification Prep Courses/CEU's to improve knowledge base.
    • Participate in your local chapter of the APTA.
    • Become a Credentialed Clinical Instructor.
    • Consider Board Certification, residency or fellowship.
  3. Use a Multidisciplinary Approach to patient care.
    • Concentra's Model offers the opportunity to promote a team approach to our students to allow them to have an understanding of every member's contribution to positive patient outcomes.
    • Collaboration is important! Take the time to partner with the providers regarding the progress of your patients and act as a resource for them.
    • Be an advocate for your profession to the rest of the center. 

Every one of our students will be different and will have varying needs to be fulfilled in order to have a meaningful clinical experience. As clinical instructors, effective mentoring starts with our model behavior, and developing our own professionalism will spark excellence in our students.