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APPLIANCE OF A NEW ASSESSMENT METHOD ADAPTED TO PANDEMIC CIRCUMSTANCES IN PRACTICAL PHYSICAL THERAPY SKILLS

Introduction:
The new world’s situation, where health measures had to be taken in order to face the COVID-19’s pandemic has altered the normal functioning and development of education. Physical Therapy is a degree that has a vast amount of credits based on practical skills, and because face-to-face teaching and assessment is necessarily suspended, new methods have to be developed to overcome this issue. Online videoconference modalities have improved teaching, but there is a lack of development of new methods to assure correct distance assessment.

Objective:
The aim of this study was to develop a new method in order to assess practical skills in Physical Therapy students that had to perform a correct clinical assessment of a patient with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The method looks to empower students in their own self-assessment and seeks to analyze their judgement and ability to perform critical assessment.

Materials and method:
The subject “Pathology and Therapeutic Approach of the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems” is a 6 ECTS credit basic formation given in the second year of the Degree in Physical Therapy. Students are practically trained in the initial assessment of patients and in the development of clinical data. Classically, the assessment of these practical skills was performed through a written exam.

After developing beforehand a fictitious clinical case and a video were they had to perform a clinical assessment including different categories given by the professors, students were asked to upload their work to a virtual environment.
Professors then, blindly assigned a code to each of the created cases, and randomly allocated those cases to different groups of students without mentioning the name of the students that created the clinical case.

Students had to, based on the practical skills they have acquired developing their own clinical case, assess the given clinical case and create appropriate feedback to the professors demonstrating they were able to identify possible flaws and mistakes. Students therefore were assessed both in their ability to develop and create a clinical case and to critically assess other cases fellow students created.

Results:
Results extracted included first an assessment of the students ability to develop a creative fictitious clinical case including all of the elements taught in class. These elements included:
(1) clinical history,
(2) physical assessment,
(3) clinical assessment
(4) imaging assessment.

Students were also assessed on their ability to critically analyze other clinical cases and were asked about their personal opinion with the given experience.