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Physical Therapy Professor Receives Prestigious Award From National Organization

Physical Therapy Professor Receives Prestigious Award From National Organization

Buffalo, New York – March 23, 2017 – The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has awarded Dr. Karen J. Panzarella, associate professor of Physical Therapy at D’Youville College, the prestigious Stanford Award that recognizes a manuscript containing the most influential educational ideas published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education.

The publication, written with co-authors Dr. Nicki Silberman, Dr. Bini Litwin, and Dr. Alicia Fernandez-Fernandez, titled “High Fidelity Human Simulation Improves Physical Therapist Student Self-Efficacy for Acute Care Clinical Practice” reported on a unique study they conducted to prepare PT students for their clinical experiences in acute care hospital settings and in practice.

“While it is very difficult to mimic the experiences PT students will have in the hospital setting in a traditional classroom setting, health care simulation can readily provide realistic experiences when carefully designed and orchestrated,” Dr. Panzarella said.

Two groups of PT students, from Long Island University, participated in the study prior to attending an acute care clinical experience. One group received a full day of intensive healthcare simulation training in the ICU/Acute Care setting using mannequins as patients while the other group did not.

Significant differences were found between the groups with their self-efficacy on their acute care clinical experience. The students that participated in the full day simulation had higher self-efficacy scores following the simulation and during the clinical experience.

“The simulation training provided a safe, non-judgmental learning environment to help students gain confidence which ultimately improved their performance on their acute care clinical experiences,” Dr. Panzarella said.

“Healthcare simulation is the premier method to train students and D’Youville has been at the forefront in interprofessional simulation training for the past five years with our eight health professional programs and more than 25 faculty involved. More than 500 students participate annually at the simulation center at the Catholic Health Administrative and Regional Training Center in Buffalo,” she said.

“Academic programs may want to consider the curricular integration of healthcare simulation to best prepare PT students in for acute care clinical experiences.”

D’Youville is continuing to develop and plan for an on-campus simulation center in the future.

The APTA, based in Alexandria, Va., is the official member organization of the profession in the U.S. representing approximately 76,000 members. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education.

Dr. Panzarella earned her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, master’s degree in exercise science, and doctorate in educational psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

She was the director of clinical education and clinical associate professor at the university for seven years prior to joining D’Youville in 2010.

Dr. Panzarella is also a physical therapist for the Catholic Health System.


Dr. Karen Panzarella
Phone: 716-829-7835

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