Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Darrell Wiens


According to the Iowa Physical Therapy Association [IPT A], physical therapy [PT] is a vital part of a healthy society, because it allows people to "achieve and maintain mobility and quality of life without surgery or prescription medication" (IPT A, 2009). There have been no published studies researching the availability of PT in rural areas of Iowa (Wilson, Lewis, & Murray, 2009; Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2005). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether PT availability in rural Iowa counties is an issue of concern. Preliminary and qualitative research was conducted to examine this topic. The importance of this study was to raise awareness in the field of PT, in rural Iowa PT facilities, and in Iowa PT schools concerning availability in order to benefit rural Iowans' quality of life. In order to reveal whether there is an issue that needs to be further studied, the following questions were asked: First, is there a PT shortage in rural Iowa counties; and second, if there is a shortage in some rural counties and no shortages in other counties, what major factors are responsible? Three avenues of research were taken to complete this study. The first two were extensions of the literature review but were crucial in completing the third and main avenue of research. The third avenue consisted of interviews with four rural physical therapists. Results from this study revealed that PT shortages do exist in rural areas and that the issue should be investigated further.

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (34 pages)