Pelvic Floor Examination Training for the Doctor in Physical Therapy Student: Results From the Academic and Clinical Communities

Mary K. Dockter, Jill S. Boissonnault, Kathleen Anderson, Patricia R. Nelson, Carol Figuers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A task force formulated by the Section on Women's Health of the American Physical Therapy Association published guidelines regarding the women's health curricular content that should be included in entry-level doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) programs in 2005. An updated Guideline was published in 2014. The Guideline was based on survey responses from academicians and clinicians. This article specifically discusses the results of the academic and clinician survey responses regarding inclusion of pelvic floor muscle examination in entry-level DPT curricula.

Study Design: Survey research report.

Outcomes: Academicians (97%) and clinicians (95%) were in agreement that psychomotor examination education of the pelvic floor muscles should not be required of students in entry-level DPT education. Clinicians (39.2%) supported the use of elective courses to teach this material, whereas academicians (33.7%) supported the use of verbal instruction with anatomic pictures and no demonstration as a way to provide education in this area.

Discussion: While the area of women's health physical therapy has incurred significant growth as evidenced by a greater number of specialists and greater inclusion in entry-level curricula, there continues to be differences in opinion regarding how physical therapists should gain competence in examination skills for pelvic floor dysfunction.

Conclusion: The majority of clinicians and academicians surveyed as part of the research for development of the “Guidelines for Women's Health Content in Professional Physical Therapist Education: 2014 Update” agreed that psychomotor internal examination skills should not be taught in entry-level DPT education.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-88
JournalJournal of Womenʼs Health Physical Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


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