E. Clark1, C. Moghimi2, A. Raffenaud3
1AdventHealth University, Physical Therapy, Orlando, United States, 2AdventHealth University, Occupational Therapy, Orlando, United States, 3AdventHealth University, Healthcare Administration, Orlando, United States

Background: Leadership in healthcare plays an important role in improving organizational performance, quality of delivered care, patient safety, and cost-efficiency.1 Therefore, future healthcare practitioners may benefit from leadership development during their entry-level curriculum and training.2 Structured education has the potential to nurture future generations of transformative leaders.3

Purpose: The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore AdventHealth University graduate students’ self-perception of leadership, as well as emerging themes related to leadership development in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA), and Masters of Occupational Therapy (MOT) programs.

Methods: Qualitative: Qualitative document analysis included: individual program mission statements and curricular threads related to leadership, course descriptions within each program in courses identified as having leadership curriculum, and the associated student learning outcomes for each course. The primary researchers performed multiple readings for analysis, and a sample was sent to an expert for review.  Quantitative: The Self Assessment of Leadership Instrument (SALI) was distributed to 74 potential 2019 subjects (24 DPT, 30 MOT, and 20 MHA) and 59 potential 2020 subjects (24 DPT, 30 MOT, and 5 MHA).  Sixteen 2019 graduates and 15 2020 graduates consent and completed the SALI upon entry and exit of their respective programs.  The SALI consisted of 40 behaviors related to leadership, and respondents utilized a 5-point Likert scale with (0) indicating “usually not behave in this manner” to (4) “almost always behave in this manner”. The score for this instrument ranged from 0 to 160, with a higher total score indicating high self-assessment of characteristics for leadership.4  

Results: Qualitative: Four main themes emerged from analysis of mission statements: leadership, practitioner orientation, spirituality, and vision.5-7  During analysis of course descriptions and student learning outcomes, spirituality was only found in one course objective.  All other themes remained prominent and no new themes emerged. Quantitative:  Sixteen 2019 graduates completed the SALI (14 DPT and 2 MOT), with respective scores statistically significantly increasing from pre to post test.  (Pre- test mean: 133.4 +/- 17.1SD, post-test mean: 145.6 +/- 12.1SD, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test = 0.006.) Similarly, fifteen 2020 graduates completed the SALI (13 DPT and 2 MOT), with respective scores statistically significantly increasing from pre to post test.  (pre-SALI score mean = 127.6 +/- 18.3 and the post-SALI score mean = 135.4 +/- 19.5; 3).  Researchers analyzed the data for normality via the Kolmogorov Smirnov Test, and it was determined that nonparametric data analysis was appropriate (K.S. >0.05).  The Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test was selected to compare pre and post SALI data for all respondents and revealed that the pre and post SALI scores were statistically significantly different for: 2019 DPT, 2019 MOT, Combined 2019 graduates, and combined DPT graduates (p value: 0.006).  

Conclusion(s): Program mission statements, course descriptions, and course objectives consistently demonstrated leadership to be a prevalent theme and was matched by student self-perception in increased leadership behaviors.  

Implications: Further investigation may seek to incorporate focus groups to understand what parts of the program most contributed to the self- perception of increased leadership behaviors among AHU graduates.

Funding, acknowledgements: none

Keywords: leadership, physical therapy, interdisciplinary education

Topic: Professional issues: business skills, leadership, advocacy & change management

Did this work require ethics approval? Yes
Institution: AdventHealth University
Committee: Institutional Review Board
Ethics number: PT23318

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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