Physical therapists have entered a new era, one in which professional education begins at the doctoral level, and practice no longer requires a referral. The foundation of such practice must be evidenced based decision making. Stakeholders in both education and health as well as, increasingly, clinicians in the community, have recognized the need for applied research. Student research can increase the probability of future clinician research and can improve the quantity and quality of publications. Student research tends to be modest and practical due to limited time and money. This means student research can provide community access to evidenced-based research outcomes that have great utility to the practicing clinician.
As a seasoned educator of this new generation of professionals, I have recognized the need for unique approaches to student research. The process of conducting research, including writing a manuscript and surviving the lash of the editorial pen, is an arduous one. I am committed to ensuring that each student is afforded the opportunity to create new knowledge and disseminate research of high caliber.
The ultimate accomplishment for a new researcher is to have his/her work published. With this in mind, I have created an environment for students to submit a manuscript or presentation to a professional journal. This journal is a tool that can be utilized to showcase their perspectives regarding what are research priorities in their field. Ultimately, it is my dream that groups of students from various allied health professions like occupational therapy, communication science and disorders and nursing, who may need encouragement to take advantage of the benefits of inter-professional practice, will compete to have a submission accepted by this journal’s review board. Submissions that incorporate research activity across disciplines will be given priority. This board will be comprised of representatives from the faculty, students, alumni and administration.
This then, is the first compilation of student research in physical therapy. An endeavor in its infancy, this rendition showcases the result of two semesters of graduate research activity by entry-level doctoral students in physical therapy. In the last semester of their program, they are expected to share their work with the University and professional community. To stimulate interest in future contributors and give the soon to be new graduate “authors” a taste of the joy associated with contributing to the body of knowledge, all submissions were accepted. Because of limits in resources, both human and otherwise, the typical model used to ensure student research is to assign participation in existing faculty projects. It is hoped that novel approaches to collaborative inter-professional research endeavors will permit the development of unique student activity that can be published here.
Colleen Rose –St. Prix DPT, MHSA