National Study of Excellence in Pediatric Physical Therapy Education: Design, Methods, and Results

James G. Moore, Marisa C. Birkmeier, Heather Lundeen, Lisa Dannemiller, Deborah K. Anderson, Jennifer A. Furze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to identify and describe the attributes of excellence and innovation in professional pediatric physical therapy education and develop a conceptual framework identifying dimensions of excellence. METHODS: A multimethod case study design based on a grounded theory framework was used. Data collection included review of artifacts and field interviews (individual and focus group). A constant-comparative method for within case and across case was used for data analysis to verify and revise coding schemes, identify categories and subcategories, revise emerging themes, and develop a conceptual framework. RESULTS: Based on results of a predetermined grading rubric, 6 of 17 self-nominated academic sites were selected representing diverse institution types (public/private, Carnegie classification, size) and geographic locations. Pedagogical approaches and method of content delivery varied among programs; all used the essential core competencies. The core pediatric faculty member(s) were Board Certified Clinical Specialists. A conceptual framework was developed based on 4 key dimensions: Culture of Excellence, Exemplary Pediatric Faculty, Pedagogy, and Child and Family as Teacher (CFT), and 16 related elements. CONCLUSIONS: CFT is a unique and nonnegotiable dimension of excellence in pediatric physical therapy education, highlighting the partnership between the learner, child, family, and pediatric faculty member. CFT intersects with the other dimensions and integrates their elements (ie, faculty characteristics, contributions from the child and family, use of instructional strategies) to effectively prepare future pediatric physical therapists. Based on the pervasiveness of this dimension in teaching and learning across all programs, this may be the signature pedagogy of pediatric physical therapy education. IMPACT: Results of this study are important to professional physical therapist education administrators, pediatric academic faculty, and clinical educators because they represent an understanding of the attributes of excellence. The model can serve as a guide for best practice in pediatric physical therapy education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'National Study of Excellence in Pediatric Physical Therapy Education: Design, Methods, and Results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this