Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences
Department of Physical Therapy

Clinical Experience

Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE)

Jefferson’s Physical Therapy has three part-time clinical experiences that are part of the entry-level DPT curriculum. These part-time clinical experiences are embedded within the curriculum over a three-course series. These three ICE courses are designed to complement classroom learning with concurrent clinical practice. These early clinical experiences allow the student to become socialized in the role of a physical therapist and to practice clinical skills as they are being learned. The ICE courses also help to prepare Jefferson DPT students for their full-time clinical experiences.

The focus of the first ICE course is on the foundation of clinical practice. The second ICE course builds on this foundation and provides students the opportunity to begin to demonstrate learned knowledge and basic hands-on care under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Both the first two ICE courses occur in the first year of the DPT program, and each student is assigned to a clinical site. Clinical sites consist of acute care hospitals, acute rehabilitation hospitals, and outpatient clinics.

The third ICE course occurs in the second year of the DPT program. This final ICE course provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate learned knowledge and basic clinical skills in a pro bono, community-based setting under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Each student in the third ICE course is assigned to two different pro bono clinical settings, including the Jefferson Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic at Methodist Hospital.     

Clinical Education Experiences

Clinical experiences are designed to provide students with an opportunity to practically apply the knowledge and skills acquired in a specific area of the academic program. These experiences will increase your level of expertise in the evaluation and treatment of patients with varying diagnoses.

Jefferson’s Physical Therapy Program has three full-time clinical experiences in the curriculum.

  • One 12-week, full-time clinical experience
  • One 14 -week full-time clinical experience
  • One 16- week full-time clinical experience

The first full-time clinical experience commences at the end of Year 2. The second and third full-time clinical experiences occur in the third year after didactic coursework and encompass back-to-back clinical experiences as terminal clinical experiences. Every student must complete at least one inpatient experience and one outpatient experience. It is anticipated that at least one of your clinical experiences will be outside of the Philadelphia area given the abundance of PT programs in the area competing for clinical experiences.

 Students have the opportunity to experience a variety of clinical education experiences, including practice settings that may include:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Acute Rehabilitation centers
  • Sub-acute Rehabilitation centers/Skilled nursing facilities
  • Home care
  • Pediatric hospitals and outpatient clinicsOutpatient clinics including Sports,
  • Orthopedic and Neurologic clinics

 

Professional Outreach

Professional outreach is integral to our DPT program. As such, our PT students are encouraged to join the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association (PPTA). Our students are motivated and encouraged to attend professional events such as:

  • APTA National Student Conclave (NSC)
  • PPTA Annual Conference
  • APTA Combined Section Meeting (CSM)

Students also contribute as members of the Physical Therapy Society (PTS). DPT students in every stage of their education get involved in community, health and physical therapy issues. PTS activities include:

  • Student mentor program
  • Journal clubs
  • Fundraisers
  • Community service activities
  • Social events
  • Guest speakers 
  • Discussions on issues relevant to the field

The Society is organized by elected Physical Therapy student leaders. All Jefferson University students are welcome to attend PTS events.