The integrated clinical education strategic initiatives project-development of parameters to guide harmonization in clinical education: A scoping review

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© 2018 American Physical Therapy Association. Background Clinical education curricular models specifically related to integrated clinical education (ICE) vary across physical therapist education programs. The interconnectedness of ICE to the advancement of a shared vision for clinical education in professional physical therapist education needs investigating. Purpose The purpose of this scoping review was to: (1) define ICE, (2) define baseline expectations and parameters of ICE, and (3) discern and describe current ICE models. Data Sources Databases accessed included Medline, MedlinePlus with Full, CINAHL, and CINAHL Plus with full text. Study Selection A multimodal data collection scoping review was completed. Data collection included survey research, a systematic review of the literature, and a series of focus groups. The McMaster Critical Appraisal Tool assessed methodological study quality. A qualitative, metasynthesis approach was used for data synthesis. Consensus agreement produced results. Data Extraction Twenty-two articles were included in the literature review from the health disciplines of medicine, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology. Data synthesis produced 8 parameters defining the factors essential to categorizing clinical education experiences as ICE in physical therapist education. The 8 parameters and ICE definition are supported by a description of models of ICE that currently exist within health profession curricula. Data Synthesis Data synthesis followed a qualitative, metasynthesis approach. Themes emerged from the surveys, literature review, and focus group data. Patterns were compared, analyzed, and synthesized to generate the themes and ICE parameters. Limitations Selection bias from the literature search could have limited the richness of the model descriptions by unintentional exclusion of articles, and might limit the applicability of results beyond the United States. Sampling bias from survey and focus groups, although purposeful, might have limited a broader description of current viewpoints about ICE. However, the data sources, including multiple health profession perspectives coupled with consensus agreement, provide sound evidence in development of profession-based parameters. Conclusions The results of this scoping review provide the profession with a standard definition of ICE and parameters that can guide a program in designing a curriculum using ICE experiences as a foundation. A recommended next step is to design education research studies using reliable and valid outcome measures across programs to determine impact and effectiveness of ICE as an educational intervention.