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Current issue: Collaboration among national, regional, and local physical therapy (PT) clinical education (CE) stakeholders is variable, creating fragmentation, duplication of efforts, and inconsistent lines of communication.
Perspective: A formalized network for effectively communicating across all CE stakeholders is needed to promote excellence in PT education. Whether centralized, decentralized, or blended, determining the best organizational structure to position the CE community for the future is critical. Participants at the 2018 National Consortium of Clinical Educators regional networking session envisioned the ideal network as a blended structure with shared leadership and centralized resources in either a bottom-up–top-down or circular configuration. A web of communication pathways connecting all CE stakeholders was also emphasized.
Implications for clinical education: Transforming the vision of CE partnerships from the narrow academic program–clinical site dyad to a broader, well-connected CE ecosystem is a prerequisite to develop a communication network. National, regional, and local stakeholders, including clinical representatives, must contribute to the development of the network. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are critical for building efficient, bidirectional interorganizational communication. The time is right for national leadership to collaborate with local CE stakeholders to identify the best network structure and ICTs to move the profession forward in its pursuit of educational excellence.
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