CSM was a great time to catch up with friends, network and gain new knowledge. Interestingly, the new knowledge I had gained was one that I was not expecting to hear. The word passing through the convention center was that some clinical sites were going to be charging PT schools for student placements.
At first I was pretty upset by the idea. Why would a clinical site do this? However, I hear the cry for help in the muck of payment for placement. I know that taking on a student is a challenging endeavor for any clinical site. Administrative time is needed for coordinating the rotation, CIs spend countless hours orienting students and working on CPIs only to have the student leave after 8-12 weeks. I get it. I’ve been there. But isn’t this part of being a mentor for our DPT students? Doesn’t the growth of a student trump some of the downsides of clinical education?
We can all agree that being a DCE is a challenging job as clinical sites are limited. I would assume that bidding for clinical placements will only create more of a competitive market for sites, thus limiting where some schools can get these sites. Isn’t it bad enough as it is now? Charging for a clinical rotation is a slippery slope. I would think that if a site has come to this, they are probably dealing with the wrong schools in the first place. I can only think that these fees will only translate into tuition hikes that will only hurt our DPT students. I think we should consider how clinical rotations are done, but payment for placement is not going to help. If anything, we should be taking on more students. We should be having them stay at our clinics longer. We should be viewing the medical model of interning as one that can fit into the PT clinical education sphere.
Taking on a valuable student (not in the $$ sense) is a very rewarding experience, one that can actually enhance clinical care, productivity and customer service. This valuable student could then become a valuable employee or resident, feeding into strong recruitment and retention. Paying for a student will not equal greater value. We are in an exciting time of PT education where innovation will disrupt the status quo, but I can’t help but think that payment for placement is heading in the right direction.