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Physical Therapy

The information below delineates the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills deemed essential to completion of the Physical Therapy degree programs at Thomas Jefferson University and to perform as a competent generalist physical therapist.

If a student cannot demonstrate the following skills and abilities, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation. The University will provide reasonable accommodations, which may include accommodations that do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered and do not impose undue hardship, such as those that are unduly costly or are disruptive to the educational process.

Cognitive Skills
The student must demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. 1. Receive, interpret, remember, reproduce and use information in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains of learning to solve problems and generate new ways of processing or categorizing information as listed in course objectives
  2. 2. Perform a physical therapy examination, including analysis of physiologic, biomechanical, behavioral, cultural and environmental factors, in a timely manner that is consistent with the norms of clinical settings
  3. 3. Use examination findings to execute a plan of care in a timely manner that is appropriate to the problems identified and consistent with the acceptable norms of clinical settings

Psychomotor Skills
The student must demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Locomotion:
    1. Get to lecture, laboratory and clinical locations, and move within rooms as necessary to change groups, partners and workstations
    2. Physically maneuver in required clinical settings to accomplish assigned tasks
  2. Manual skills:

    1. Maneuver another person's body parts to perform examination and treatment techniques effectively
    2. Manipulate common tools used for screening and examination tests, e.g., sphygmomanometer, goniometer, cotton balls, safety pins, reflex hammer.
    3. Safely and effectively guide, facilitate, inhibit and resist movement and motor patterns through physical facilitation and inhibition techniques, including the ability to give urgent verbal feedback.
    4. Safely manipulate another person's body in transfers, gait, positioning, and exercise and mobilization techniques.
    5. Manipulate examination and intervention equipment and safely and accurately apply to patients.
    6. Manipulate bolsters, pillows, plinths, mats, gait assistive devices, and other supports or chairs to aid in positioning, moving or treating a patient safely and effectively.
    7. Competently perform and supervise cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) using guidelines issued by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.

  3. Fine motor skills:

    1. Legibly record/document examinations, patient care notes, referrals, etc. in standard medical charts in clinical settings in a timely manner and consistent with the acceptable norms of the clinical setting.
    2. Legibly record thoughts for written assignments and tests.
    3. Sense changes in an individual's muscle tone, skin quality, joint play, kinesthesia and temperature to gather accurate objective information in a timely manner, and sense that individual's response to environmental changes and treatment.
    4. Safely apply and adjust therapeutic modalities.
    5. Use a telephone.

  4. Visual acuity to:

    1. Receive visual information from classmates, faculty and patients regarding movement, posture, body mechanics and gait necessary for comparison to normal standards for purposes of examination and eval-uation of movement dysfunctions.
    2. Receive visual information from the treatment environment, including but not limited to dials on modalities and monitors, assistive devices, furniture, flooring and structures.

  5. Communication:

    1. Effectively communicate with other students, faculty, patients, peers, staff and personnel to ask questions, explain conditions and procedures, teach home programs, and for safety in a timely manner and within the acceptable norms of academic and clinical settings.
    2. Receive and interpret written communication in both academic and clinical settings in a timely manner.
    3. Receive and send verbal communication in life threatening situations in a timely manner and within acceptable norms of clinical settings.

Affective Skills
The student must be able to:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate affective behaviors and mental attitudes in order not to jeopardize the emotional, physical, mental and behavioral safety of clients and other individuals with whom they interact in the academic and clinical settings.
  2. Comply with the ethical standards of the American Physical Therapy Association.
  3. Sustain the mental and emotional rigors of a demanding educational pro-gram in physical therapy, which includes academic and clinical compo-nents that occur within set time constraints.
  4. Acknowledge and respect individual values and opinions in order to foster harmonious working relationships with colleagues, peers and patients.

The above requirements are based on skills identified in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, 2nd ed. Physical Therapy 2001; 81:9-744. Reviewed and adopted by the Physical Therapy Department, September 2006.

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