Dr. Jessica Maxwell chosen to serve on task force for Clinical Education Placement Capacity and Process Innovation

Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Maxwell who is one of 13 people chosen to serve on a task force from the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT).

Over 40 people applied to be a part of the task force.

Jessica Maxwell — Northeastern University

The task force will investigate Clinical Education Placement Capacity and Process Innovation. 

Maxwell says there are over 250 Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs in the United States. Each of the programs sends an average of two to three cohorts of 30-100 students out on clinical experiences each year, to receive the in-clinic training and supervision that they require to become competent physical therapists. These clinical experiences are in hospitals, schools, outpatient clinics, etc.

Successful completion of these experiences is required by CAPTE, the accreditation body of PT programs, and by the programs themselves for graduation and to sit for the licensure exam. Every student nationwide needs a minimum of 30 weeks of full-time clinical education.

This means something like 25,000 full-time clinical placements are needed for DPT students every year. Currently, there is not a national matching system like medical schools do for setting this up, so each school has to find placements themselves and establish clinical partners to do so.

Maxwell says it has become increasingly difficult for schools to find this many placements, especially for inpatient hospital settings.

This task force was formed by the Academy of Physical Education to attempt to address this problem. Half the group is tasked with determining the actual capacity of all clinical sites nationwide to host students throughout the year (this is the group Maxwell is on), and the other half is looking at how other professions, including medicine, match and place their students to see if we should centralize our process.

The task force will begin its work this month and hopes to be completed in October 2023.