In this issue:
There is no denying that society is much more mobile than ever before. Most people no longer expect to stay in the same job or same location for their entire careers. Most of your students will work in several locations and possibly several states. Regulators know this is the reality of practice and why FSBPT and its member jurisdictions wanted to increase licensure mobility while maintaining public protection. There is an evolving political climate that emphasizes deregulation; therefore, enabling licensees to move from state to state helps address some policymakers' criticisms of regulation while still protecting the public. Mobility also helps expand patients' access to health care, which is especially beneficial in rural areas close to borders. Mobility also helps expand a jurisdiction's overall workforce and gives patients more access to specialists. Additionally, licensure mobility would necessitate and encourage better data sharing, which supports public protection.
With the PT Compact, jurisdictions are not reliant on emergency authorizations to quickly increase the amount of licensed health care workers to support emergency situations. Additionally, these practitioners will be able to come in quickly while also being prepared to practice under that jurisdiction's rules and regulations. As tech-savvy and purpose and mission-driven Gen Z enters the workforce, they will want to respond to a call for assistance and won't want to be delayed by perceived regulatory red tape.
Technology is rapidly making telehealth more feasible, and physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have been embracing this alternative means to deliver treatment, the greatest increases coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic. Some students will complete clinical rotations where telehealth technologies are used, and several will go on to practice by remote means. Telehealth can meet patient needs, and both patients and clinicians will begin to expect access to this service-delivery model. It is also not uncommon for patients to be far from specific specialists. Telehealth, especially across states, gives patients access to that much-needed care.
Graduating students have more options than ever before. The PT Compact Commission now has more than thirty jurisdictions and continues to grow. Understanding the PT Compact will be important for your students to know how to stay in compliance with regulatory requirements while still enjoying the mobility they expect. An educational module about the PT Compact is in development and expected to be available for educators for the 2022-2023 school year. This module will include everything you need to share with students about the PT Compact without having to research all the content.
Learn more about how the PT Compact benefits regulators, practitioners, and the public, and how it continues to expand and grow.
FSBPT will host the NPTE Workshop for Educators Friday through Sunday, October 7-9, 2022, in Alexandria, Virginia. Attendees will receive valuable insights on how the NPTE is developed and how to prepare students for the NPTE as well as hands-on assistance in writing test items similar to those on the NPTE. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about this in-person workshop. Registration will open in the coming weeks.
FSBPT is committed to ensuring that our organization and our members not only recognize the value of DEIB, but take proactive steps to be inclusive.
As FSBPT President Nancy Kirsch said in a 2020 webinar, in order for regulators to fulfill their mission of public protection, members of the public must feel comfortable approaching regulatory boards for help, guidance, or to report a licensee. Members of the public must know that they will be accepted, listened to, and included. Additionally, NPTE candidates and licensees must feel included to trust that they will be treated fairly throughout the examination and licensure process.
FSBPT has taken concrete steps to become more inclusive. The Nominating Committee considers diversity when slating candidates for our Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. FSBPT has also given members multiple resources to help them consider and advance their own efforts. Additionally, FSBPT created a staff DEI Committee to proactively review and create plans to foster DEIB internally.
Fairness is also an essential focus of the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) development process. FSBPT assesses fairness at several steps. First, FSBPT trains item writers in strategies to avoid using insensitive language, or language that might disadvantage some test candidates due to accessibility. Experienced volunteers then help the item writer revise the question so that it only assesses critical, job-relevant knowledge. If the item writer cannot revise it sufficiently, volunteers discard the question. Next, the Exam Development Committee (EDC) reviews items; this is the final step before an item is eligible to be included on the NPTE.
FSBPT continuously examines and improves this process. Since 2016, when FSBPT engaged an external consultant on this topic, we have used a formal internal Fairness Review Committee. The committee has the responsibility to ensure test questions are reviewed for language and sensitivity issues, with the goal of making NPTE questions equally accessible to exam candidates of all backgrounds. At the same time, FSBPT created a tool for volunteers and committee members to more consistently assess item fairness. FSBPT has also adopted more sophisticated statistical analyses to detect test questions that might disadvantage some groups based on their demographic background. Our efforts in this vein continue, and in 2022 FSBPT is again working with an external consulting group to determine what improvements could be made to existing processes to further promote fairness and access.
We have included information and resources on DEIB on our website. We know we cannot honor our mission of public protection without being intentional about valuing DEIB among our staff, leadership, and members to better represent the public we serve.
FSBPT has informally recommended taking the retired form of PEAT first, between thirty days and six months prior to taking the NPTE. Our rationale has been that within thirty days, there is not much a candidate can do to improve their performance. However, conversely, if one takes PEAT too far in advance of the NPTE, they might lose the benefit of the practice with the administration interface and timing that PEAT gives them.
Recent research has validated this recommendation and provided a little more specificity. In a review of more than 27,000 PT and 12,000 PTA scores, NPTE scores are maximized for PTs between thirty to ninety days prior to taking the NPTE; scores drop off for those taking PEAT around 180 days prior to the NPTE. For PTAs, NPTE scores seem to be maximized for those taking PEAT between sixty and ninety days prior to the NPTE, and scores drop off for those taking PEAT about 150 days prior to taking the NPTE.
It's important to remember that none of the items you see on PEAT, or any other practice exam, will appear on the NPTE form. The real benefit of PEAT is for students to understand how to read and interpret NPTE questions and to apply their clinical reasoning skills to come to the correct answer, within a reasonable amount of time. Cramming for the NPTE is not an effective studying strategy. Learn more about the Academic PEAT.
Item writing for the NPTE is a great way to gain expertise in crafting multiple-choice questions, share your knowledge of the profession, work with and learn from colleagues, and have fun!
If you or someone you know would like to participate in an Item Writing Workshop, apply online or send an inquiry to email@example.com.
Visit the FSBPT website for information on a range of topics.
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If you have questions, challenges or ideas, we want to hear from you!
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William A. Hatherill
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Lorin Mueller, PhD
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Exam administration issues, ADA
Jamie Nolan, FCCPT
Managing Director of the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT)
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