Faculty Advisor

Matt S. Stock, Ph.D., FNSCA, CSCS & Laurie C. Neely, PT, DPT, NCS

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Physical therapy students at the University of Central Florida complete a clinical integrations course that traditionally utilizes a face-to-face format prior to their first clinical education experience. Due to distance learning mandates from the COVID-19 pandemic, this course was transformed into an online format.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to examine the perception of clinical instructors regarding student readiness for clinical education comparing students who completed the virtual clinical integrations course to students who had completed the traditional course during the previous two years.

METHODS: A survey of student readiness was distributed to clinical instructors supervising students in their first clinical internship. Items assessing overall readiness were collated for the Fall 2020 cohort and compared to students from the prior two cohorts. Independent sample t-tests were utilized to examine group differences in perceptions of student readiness among a variety of domains.

RESULTS: Nineteen clinical instructors who supervised students in Fall 2020 completed the survey. Twelve of those instructors had supervised students in the prior two years and completed Part 2 of the survey. There was no statistically significant difference in cohort scores, although clinical instructors perceived that students from the Fall 2020 cohort performed lower than prior students in overall readiness, psychomotor, cognitive, and affective skill domains, including safety, interventions, and patient management.

CONCLUSION: Transition of students in professional programs from face-to-face clinical coursework to virtual formats should transpire with caution. While this institution was able to maintain acceptable student performance, the downward trend demonstrates the need for purposeful activities to ensure clinical preparedness.


Abbreviations: clinical education experience, CEE; Doctor of Physical Therapy, DPT; clinical performance instrument, CPI; clinical instructors, CI’s

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UCF Only