School-Based Physical Therapists' Perceptions about Becoming Effective Practitioners through Professional Development


Aims: The aims of this study were to explore perceptions of school-based physical therapists (SBPTs) about professional development and effective practice and to create a conceptual framework to help understand how SBPTs become effective practitioners who continue to learn and grow professionally as clinicians in an educational setting.

Methods: Twenty school-based physical therapists completed a demographic questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. Guiding interview questions focused on SBPTs' perceptions of roles and responsibilities, professional development, barriers, and recommendations.

Results: Participants identified roles and personal qualities of effective SBPTs. Three concepts for the process of professional development were developed: educational context and culture, barriers to effective practice, and strategies for professional development.

Conclusion: The development of effective practice for SBPTs is a multifaceted, iterative process involving a unique set of knowledge, skills, and behaviors that allow them to fulfill their roles. The process takes time and effort to understand the self within the educational context and culture, recognize barriers to effective practice, and develop strategies for success. A conceptual framework was developed to assist SBPTs in implementing a plan for professional development that leads to effectively providing services to students and functioning as essential members of the educational team.



Educational setting, physical therapy services, Professional development, Qualitative research, School-based physical therapy


Zousmer, S., Stiller, C., Thompson, K., Wilson, C., & Kondratek, M. (2023). School-Based Physical Therapists’ Perceptions about Becoming Effective Practitioners through Professional Development. Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics, 1-19.