Using the SNAPPS model to develop student physical therapist decision-making skills during new patient encounters in the outpatient clinic: a pilot study

Main Article Content

Patti J. Berg-Poppe
Matt Dewald
Becca Jordre
Joy R. Karges-Brown
Adam Ladwig


Rationale: The SNAPPS (summarize, narrow, analyze, probe, plan, select) model is a six-step teaching tool that facilitates decision-making in clinic environments. The tool promotes active communication between students and clinical instructors (CIs) and positions the student as lead in the learning scenario. The current study employed the SNAPPS model for use with student physical therapists. The purpose of the study was to gauge changes in perceptions of verbal ability, decision-making, and confidence levels following new patient evaluations where the SNAPPS model was utilized.

Methods: Participating student and CI partners received training to learn the SNAPPS model with fidelity. Log worksheets guided students through the SNAPPS steps. After new patient encounters, student and CI partners rated student verbal skills, decision-making, and confidence levels using mirrored statements. Representative early, middle, and late week ratings were compared for change.

Results: Six of forty-eight (12.5%) eligible students participated. Student and CI assessments were not significantly different, indicating reliable student self-assessment. Improvements were noted in students’ (1) skill in providing a verbal rationale, (2) ability to generate thoughtful and relevant learning prompts, (3) confidence in diagnosing pathology and impairment, and (4) confidence in selecting an appropriate intervention.

Clinical relevance: The SNAPPS model is a clinical education tool that shows promise toward improving thought process verbalization and confidence levels for the student seeing new patients in an outpatient setting. This active learning experience can promote accountability for learning and enhance student verbal and analytical skills.


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Article Details

Clinical Education, learning outcomes, communication skills, decision-making, patient management, teaching and learning
Original Research Articles
How to Cite
Berg-Poppe, P. J. ., Dewald, M., Jordre, B., Karges-Brown, J. R., & Ladwig, A. (2022). Using the SNAPPS model to develop student physical therapist decision-making skills during new patient encounters in the outpatient clinic: a pilot study. The Journal of Clinical Education in Physical Therapy, 4.