Competency-Based Validation of Neurologic Specialty Practice

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Introduction:This paper describes a recent practice analysis of neurologic physical therapy. The purpose of the analysis was to describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities of a neurologic physical therapist and to distinguish elements that the neurologic specialist may perform differently from a nonspecialist. The analysis was done to revalidate and revise the Description of Specialty Practice used by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). This Description supports the test plan for the neurologic certification examination.Methods:A survey was developed by a subject matter expert group and was finalized by analysis of pilot survey data. The final survey consisted of 303 items about the duties, roles, procedures, and knowledge of neurologic physical therapists. Respondents were asked to rate items on frequency, importance, level of criticality, and level of judgment. Respondents were also asked to provide input about examination content percentages and their own clinical practice and demographics.Results:The survey was sent to 590 members of the APTA’s Neurology Section. The responses of 187 (32% return rate) physical therapists were combined with 30 responses to the pilot survey for analysis. The data yielded a new neurologic certification examination test plan and description of neurologic specialty practice. This description emphasizes the professional practice expectations, tests and measures, and intervention skills that characterize a neurologic specialist.Summary:The results of this survey represent a summary of current neurologic specialty practice and therefore support an outline for the neurologic board certification examination.

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