Assessment of stress and burnout in physical therapist clinical instructors

Date
August 2023
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Abstract

ABSTRACT RYAN PONTIFF ASSESSMENT OF STRESS AND BURNOUT IN PHYSICAL THERAPIST CLINICAL INSTRUCTORS

AUGUST 2023 Clinical education is a critical component of a student physical therapist’s (SPT’s) journey to becoming a physical therapist (PT). Clinicians who are willing to be clinical instructors (CIs) are needed to educate and mentor the SPT on affective, cognitive, and psychomotor skills, however the role of CI is typically filled voluntarily. The increase in workload related to the SPT has the potential to increase the perceived stress and burnout of the CI. The purpose of this project was to assess the stress and burnout of CIs and to explore factors related to clinical education which CIs feel influenced their stress and burnout. The first study utilized a cross-sectional approach. The second study utilized qualitative, one-on-one interviews while the third study used a pre- post- study design. The results of Study 1 revealed PT CIs to have moderate stress and burnout levels. Study 2 revealed the following themes: (1) Clinical education positively influences the PT CI, (2) Clinical education influences PT CI stress and burnout, (3) PT CI burnout as an influencer of accepting an SPT, (4) The SPT’s influence on PT CI stress and burnout, (5) The influence of the SPT’s education level on a PT CI’s willingness to accept a student, and (6) The influence of the challenging SPT experience on supervising future SPTs Study 3 findings revealed that there was no significant difference in a PT CI’s stress and burnout between pre- and post- supervising an SPT, however for those with high levels of burnout, SPT mentorship resulted in a statistically significant reduction in burnout. Results of the dissertation provide data to support the presence of stress and burnout in PT CIs, however the perceived stress and burnout may not result in lasting effects. Further studies are needed to identify ways to support PT CIs, reduce their increased workload, and perceived stress and burnout related to clinical education.

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Physical Therapy, Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy
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