New Approaches to Education and Clinical Care

Article excerpt

SPRING IS FINALLY HERE, and with it the first issue of the new year. This year will be one in which some of our features are transferred to the special online supplement of the Journal. The features Potential Patterns, Allied Abstracts, and Book Reviews will be listed in the table of contents of the printed journal and the full text will be available in the electronic version, but not in the paper copy. These papers will continue to be indexed as usual by Medline and other indexing services. If this approach proves successful, in the future we may consider placing additional features in the online edition. Using this format will allow us to get some accepted manuscripts to print faster and ease some of the backlog that exists.

I would also like to announce that Mr. Michael Paquet has graciously agreed to serve as Editor Pro Bono/Pro Tempore during times that I might be out of the office or otherwise not available. Mike is an Associate Dean in Jefferson's College of Health Professions and an accomplished literary scholar in his own right. Having him available, should the need arise, will allow us to respond to questions from reviewers or potential authors in a timely fashion. Other titles that were considered, and finally rejected, for this position were Editor Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam and Editor Non Sequitur.

In this issue, we include five Research Articles, one Commentary, and two Research Notes. Team approaches to care have been widely recognized for their potential value in dealing with the multiple problems associated with rehabilitation. There is evidence to suggest that individuals rehabilitating from a stroke can benefit from occupational and physical therapy services. However, the extent to which individuals have access to these services is less known. Cook and his team used a subsample of the Health and Retirement Study Database to determine which factors contributed to the availability of OT/PT services and whether these services were related to a reduction in strokerelated problems. They found that fewer than 10% of noninstitutionalized poststroke patients were accessing OT/PT care. In addition, access was associated with lower levels of disability and fewer problems over time. Having an attending physician, higher income, and older age also were variables strongly related to access of OT/PT services.

Recruitment of students is a significant problem facing schools and colleges of allied health. Physical therapy programs are having serious difficulty in recruiting qualified candidates for their entry-level programs. In order to develop successful recruitment strategies, it is important for recruiters to understand the factors influencing student selection of academic programs. Wilcox and Weber surveyed 1,250 students from a national sample of 66 programs. Of 51 factors presented in the survey, 4 were selected as "very influential" by more than 50% of the students in helping them reach their decision. These factors were type of degree offered, program accreditation status, perception of education quality, and program atmosphere. Also identified as "very influential" were pass rate on licensing examinations, marketability of degree, student/taculty ratio, and small class size.

Student retention is another important issue for college and university administrators. Jewell and Riddle report on their study to identify factors that would predict which students would be placed on probationary status during their academic careers. Records of over 300 students enrolled in a physical therapy program from 1995 to 2000 were used in the analysis. Preprogram grade point average (GPA) and scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) were used as predictors of probationary status. Using stepwise regression, they found that while total GPA and verbal and quantitative GRE scores were significant predictors in the regression model, only verbal GRE scores consistently showed predictive capability.

Student academic performance is only one important outcome of an academic program. …