|Title||VALUE ADDED ASSESSMENT OF PRIVATE PRACTICE EXTERNSHIPS|
|Author, Co-Author||Diane Adamczyk, Rochelle Mozlin|
|Abstract|| PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine the value added effect of a specialty private practice externship to the clinical education of 4th year optometry students.
METHODS: Three private practices with an emphasis in vision therapy were selected based on specific criteria and practice assessment protocols from an applicant pool. One student was assigned per quarter for each practice (total 12). An institutionally based vision therapy based externship (SUNY-Optometry) had 2-3 externs per quarter (total 11). A comparative analysis of clinical experience and patient exposure was done between the vision therapy private practice and the institutionally based externs. Additionally, a survey was conducted both pre and post private practice rotation to assess the enhancement of student practice management knowledge.
RESULTS: When compared to the institutional externship, the private practice externs indicated greater improvement in doctor/patient communication, prescribing skills, and overall clinical skills. When compared to the private practice, the institutional based externs indicated greater improvement in examination/diagnostic skills, understanding/use of ocular pharmaceuticals, and learning new clinical procedures. The private practice externs saw a wider age range of patients, exam types and a significantly greater number of refractive/accommodative and amblyopia cases, whereas the institutional externs saw a greater number of strabismic cases. The externs at the private practice indicated a greater understanding of various aspects of practice management after the rotation.
CONCLUSIONS: Specialty private practice clinical rotations offer unique educational experiences to the student in comparison to an institutional setting. These include a broader patient population and an increased understanding of practice management skills. Essential to a good private practice educational setting is a thorough selection process to ensure the optimum educational experience.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This study was sponsored by a Vision Service Plan grant.
|Affiliation of Co-Authors||State University of New York, College of Optometry|