Date: August 1996
Creator: Thompson, Mary E., 1958-
Description: Geriatric board-certified specialists (GCSs) address health care needs of the growing geriatric population. The study's purposes were to: examine career paths of GCSs, identify influencing factors, and explore implications for higher education. Twelve of 14 original 1992 GCSs participated. Data included document collection and interviews. Using a qualitative methodology, commonalities were sought among individuals and HyperRESEARCH software was used for data management. The participants were adventurous, valued education, and were enthusiastic about physical therapy (PT), geriatrics, and specialization. Their career path began with choosing PT as a career, professional education, and their first job. One GCS moved directly into geriatrics. Others went to different settings before geriatrics. As participants recognized they "fit" in geriatrics, they pursued postprofessional education to increase knowledge before choosing board certification. In choosing PT, volunteer experience and personal research were common influences. In choosing to work with elders, influences throughout life gradually built a social context supporting the decision. GCSs chose specialist certification to assist in professionalization of geriatric PT, because they were highly skilled, for career advancement, and for self professionalization. Specialist certification had few financial consequences. Participants gained friends and professional networks. They experienced improved patient care, increased educational opportunities, and/or increased professional service. ...
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