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Essential Functions for DPT Students

The School of Physical Therapy is committed to enabling  students with disabilities to complete the course of study of the Doctor  of Physical Therapy (DPT) program by means of reasonable accommodations  consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These  essential functions reflect the expectations and required abilities  considered essential for physical therapy students to become primary  healthcare professionals. All students admitted to the DPT program  should be able to demonstrate these abilities at the time of admission  and at all times during their matriculation.

Cognitive Functions

  • Comprehend, retain, and retrieve complex information from the  liberal arts, basic sciences, mathematics, and psychological and  clinical sciences and apply this information to professional course  work.
  • Comprehend, synthesize, and integrate information from written  materials, demonstration, lectures, class discussions, laboratory  practice sessions, and real and simulated patients.
  • Apply information obtained from classroom, laboratory, and written  materials to the examination, evaluation and intervention of real and  simulated patients.
  • Procure evidence based information and apply it to the practice of physical therapy.
  • Critically analyze information taken from lectures, class  discussion, written materials, research literature, laboratory, and  patient demonstrations to develop and support the rationale for  appropriate patient examinations, evaluations, and interventions.
  • Determine the physical therapy needs of any patient with potential movement dysfunction.
  • Develop and document a physical therapy plan of care for any patient with movement dysfunction.
  • Demonstrate management skills including planning, organizing, supervising, and delegating.
  • Develop and apply programs of prevention and health promotion in a variety of client and patient populations.
  • Participate in the process of scientific inquiry.

Affective & Communication Functions

  • Establish professional, empathic relationships with individuals from  a variety of backgrounds, ages, and needs, based on mutual trust.
  • Recognize the impact and influence of lifestyle, socioeconomic  class, culture, beliefs, race, and abilities on patients and colleagues.
  • Engage in respectful, non-judgmental interactions with individual  from various lifestyles, cultures, beliefs, races, socioeconomic  classes, and abilities.
  • Develop and maintain effective, respectful working relationships  with professional colleagues, peers, patients, families, and the general  public.
  • Work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  • Utilize appropriate professional verbal, nonverbal and written communication with patients, families, colleagues and others.
  • Recognize the psychosocial impact of movement dysfunction and  disability on the client and family; integrate these needs into the  evaluation and plan of care.
  • Apply teaching and learning theories and methods in the healthcare and community environments.
  • Meet externally imposed deadlines and time requirements.
  • Effectively and consistently manage personal stress and the stress of others.
  • Effectively attend to people, information, and tasks in a complex, highly stimulating environment during an entire workday.
  • Practice in a safe, ethical, and legal manner, following guidelines  for standard practice as established by federal, state, and local law,  the University, clinical facilities, the APTA, and related professional  organizations.
  • Demonstrate responsibility for self-assessment and the development of a life-long plan for professional growth and development.
  • Accept responsibility for all actions, reactions, and inactions.
  • Respond to medical crisis and emergencies in a calm, safe, and professional manner.
  • Speak and write effectively in English to convey information to other individuals and groups.
  • Understand and interpret the verbal, non-verbal, and written  communications of others and respond in an appropriate, professional  manner.

Psychomotor Functions

  • Safely, reliably, and efficiently perform appropriate physical  therapy procedures to examine the functional skills and gross motor  system of patients across the lifespan. These include but are not  limited to:         
    • Cognitive, mental, emotional status
    • Endurance
    • Skin integrity
    • Sensation
    • Strength
    • Joint mobility
    • Joint motion and play
    • Muscle tone and reflexes
    • Movement patterns
    • Coordination
    • Balance
    • Development skills
    • Pain
    • Posture
    • Gait
    • Functional abilities
    • Assistive technology
    • Cardiopulmonary status
    • Segmental length, girth, and volume
  • Demonstrate the ability to observe and practice universal precautions
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform CPR and emergency first aid.
  • Safely, reliably, and efficiently perform treatment procedures for  patients across the lifespan, using procedures that are appropriate for  the patient’s status and plan of care. These include, but are not  limited to:         
    • Therapeutic exercises to improve strength, ROM, or endurance
    • Developmental activities
    • Gait activities
    • Prosthetic and orthotic training
    • Wound care
    • Wheelchair training
    • Neurosensory techniques
    • Thermal agents and electrotherapy
    • Balance and coordination training
    • Positioning techniques
    • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
    • Joint mobilization and soft tissue procedures
    • Functional activities, bed mobility, transfers
  • Safely and reliably read meters, dials, printouts, and goniometers.
  • Manipulate and operate physical therapy equipment and monitoring devices.
  • Demonstrate appropriate body mechanics and react safely and  appropriately to sudden or unexpected movements of patients/classmates.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work in an environment that requires  significant physical activity and mobility throughout the workday in a  way that does not compromise patient or therapist safety.

 

Sources:

  • AASIG Technical Standards, Essential Functions Document. Section on Education, September, 1998.
  • Ingram, D. (1997). Opinions of Physical Therapy Program Directors on Essential Functions, Physical Therapy, 77(1).
  • Essential Functions, Simmons College, Boston, MA.
  • Essential Functions, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI.
  • Essential Functions, Northeastern University, Boston, MA