VI. Conclusion

In conclusion, the researcher would like to summarize what was learned from analyzing the results of this study, and offer recommendations for anyone who would want to investigate this study further.

It is important to recognize that the responding Residency Site Directors (RSDs) had an average of 16-20 years of orthotic / prosthetic experience to rely on when managing residents. This experience provides the RSDs a fair amount of perspective when stating what academic competencies are necessary for the resident to obtain. The majority of responding RSDs felt that examination techniques, prescription criteria, and infection control / universal precautions should be covered in complete detail, prior to a resident beginning their residency education. Many of the RSDs felt that business matters, academics, and technical skills should be elaborated on in the primary educational setting in order to better prepare the resident for their residency. It was suggested that some residents demonstrate a lack of communication skills and appropriate work ethic, in the residency setting. It would be interesting to investigate this idea, and determine if there is sufficient reason to address residency expectations and preparation in the primary educational setting.

Surprisingly, only half of the 99 RSDs work with facilities that can provide an ongoing residency program, and are recruiting a new resident every year. The average RSD has managed an NCOPE accredited residency site for 1 year or less, and wants to improve their residency by increasing the diversity and exposure residents receive at their facility. Some have suggested that NCOPE form / regulate a network to allow students to rotate through other facilities, while providing more information and structure to the residency program. A rotation network, with in NCOPE accredited residencies, would certainly enhance the diversity of the post-graduate educational experience, but would also present problems that are not easily resolved. Private P&O laboratories may be hesitant to teach, a representative of another facility, techniques and insights on their specialty. This may require specific guidelines before some laboratories would consider participating in this endeavor.

Since, the researcher is not a Residency Site Director and lacks the experience and perspective to provide categorical answers for all survey questions, four open-ended questions were used in the survey tool. (Appendix A) These open-ended questions were successful in achieving their intended purpose, by eliciting many responses, and allowed us to discover trends or categorize within the answers. If this study is investigated further, these trends will hopefully assist a future researcher in creating categories for similar close-ended questions. (Appendix B). Open-ended questions were difficult to analyze because it was felt that many respondents misunderstood the questions, eliciting answers that were not relevant to the question. In many cases it was felt that respondents were burdened by the time it took to write their own responses and when answers were recorded it was not clear what they were intending to communicate. In fact, what may have been a clear answer to the respondent, in many cases, was vague and difficult to interpret.

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