Thrust joint manipulation curricula in first-professional physical therapy education: 2012 Update

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STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive online observational survey. OBJECTIVES: To identify the extent of thrust joint manipulation (TJM) integration into firstprofessional physical therapy program curricula. BACKGROUND: The most recent survey of TJM curricula was published in 2004, with a wide variation in faculty responses noted. Since that time, faculty resources have been developed and TJM language in "A Normative Model of Physical Therapist Professional Education" from the American Physical Therapy Association has been updated, leaving the current status of TJM education in curricula unknown. METHODS: Faculty from 205 accredited physical therapy programs were invited to participate in an anonymous 35-item electronic survey during the summer of 2012. RESULTS: Seventy-two percent of programs responded to the survey, with 99% of programs teaching TJM and 97% of faculty believing TJM to be an entry-level skill. Cervical spine TJM is still being taught at a lower rate than techniques for other body regions. Faculty deemed 91% and 77% of students, respectively, at or above entry-level competency for implementing TJM in their clinical practice upon graduation. Most respondents indicated that increased utilization of TJM during clinical affiliations (78%) and lab hours (78%) would be beneficial to the student's knowledge/ application of TJM. CONCLUSION: The utilization of TJM and faculty perceptions in first-professional physical therapy programs in the United States have evolved over the past decade. With TJM content more fully integrated into educational curricula, programs can now look to refine teaching strategies that enhance learning outcomes.

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