Perceived leadership practices in year-one students enrolled in professional entry-level doctor of physical therapy programs

Leadership has been identified as an important attribute for health care professionals. Assessing leadership practices can help identify areas of strength or needed improvement for the development of leaders.

The purpose of this study was to describe the perceived leadership practices of year-1 Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students, to determine if the participants’ demographic variables were related to their perceived leadership practices, and to explore differences between participants and the general population.

The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI Self) developed by Kouzes and Posner was used to assess leadership practices of year-1 DPT students at six Midwestern universities.

The leadership practices of 192 DPT students in highest to lowest order were Enable, Encourage, Model, Challenge, and Inspire. Age was found to be significantly correlated with the Challenge leadership practice. The order and means of some leadership practices of the DPT students were different than the general population.

This study provides a baseline description of how year-1 DPT students perceived their leadership behaviors and how the LPI Self can be used to facilitate the development of leadership skills.

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