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Full Story

“Parting Words”: NCCE Business Meeting

Dec 10, 2019

Donna Applebaum-NCCE Chair 2015-2019                     

October 18, 2019                                                             

It has been an honor to advocate for clinical education during a time when I believe there has been a need to bring credibility to the voices in clinical education that speak our truth. It is a privilege that I have never taken lightly. The NCCE was born in 2015, over 5 years after ACAPT became an organization representing physical therapist education. Through the vision of Corrie Odom and in collaboration with the ACAPT Board, it was critical to establish an official collective voice for PT clinical education. The importance of this is that ACAPT is a standard-setting organization through votes of member programs. This paved the way for us to make recommendations to set standards for clinical education that will reflect best practices, promote excellence, and importantly, represent all types of programs. We've spent the last 4 years laying a foundation, committing to work that will inform future processes. 

More than once over the years I have wondered out loud why there is a perception among some that clinical education is broken. These are words that feel very personal to those of us who do this work. What I now believe is that there are systems that are broken, or nonexistent, causing us to work too hard, not focus on the right things, and affecting personal wellness.  Because of growth in programs and the ever-changing healthcare landscape, we cannot afford to stay in our silos. If we can fix or establish systems such as communication processes, placement processes, and curricular models, we will be able to focus on teaching and scholarship to produce stronger and more consistent outcomes, impacting clinical practice for the good of our patients and clients.

Sometimes I think we have an external locus of control, and I encourage you to take control of the future of clinical education. I hear people say, "What's APTA going to do, or CAPTE, or ACAPT..." This is all of us! For sure, we need to collaborate and work within the mechanisms of our profession. But you are the experts in clinical education. You are the ones to inform processes and curricula. You are the ones to create and interpret the evidence and make recommendations informed by practical consideration of relevant issues. Don't wait for things to happen TO us.

It has been extremely rewarding and inspiring to work alongside my fellow Board members over the last 4 years. I have appreciated their commitment, their talents, and their honesty and candor. They make up for the skills I lack and helped me stay patient when I have not felt patient. 

I want to thank my colleagues at the MGH Institute and in the New England Consortium for allowing me take my focus away from my other professional roles. Their support has allowed me to fulfill my responsibilities in this national role. This is my village.

I'm also grateful for the collaborations with CESIG leadership, past and present. Corrie had the vision, Scott Euype and Cindy Flom-Meland collaborated to create the NCCE, and the work since then with Carol Beckel, Jay Lamble and Karen Bock has been extremely positive. We are moving in a direction to create value for programs and individuals through our respective organizations.

My husband was going to come to this conference, and I told him to stay home because I'd be too busy. This is nothing new. It will be nice to make some time for him again and clean a couple windows at home.

The NCCE will be in excellent hands with Janice Howman as your new Chair. Janice is experienced, insightful, extremely hardworking, and shares a vision related to development of partnerships on all levels that resonates very strongly for me. Janice will have support of a Board that is experienced, and the support of our community to help her lead.

I leave you with a couple of images:

Work smarter…address issues that affect the system


 Lean in…(channel your inner Susan Sandberg)


Thank you!  ~Donna

Celebrating APTA's Centennial



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