Clinical Education Expectations for all DPT Students

The following statement defines the DPT Program's expectations for students throughout the clinical education program:

The program expects all students to achieve entry-level performance in the management of patients/clients with diseases and conditions representative of those commonly see in practice across the lifespan, continuum of care, and in a variety of practice setting that are consistent with contemporary Physical Therapy practice.

Overview of the DPT Clinical Education Program

The DPT Clinical Education Program consists of:

  • 39 weeks of full-time and part-time clinical education experiences.
  • At Alvernia, the cornerstone of our program is our emphasis on clinical competence and skill that is facilitated through early and frequent immersion of the student into real-world clinical experiences.  At Alvernia, we believe that authentic learning transpires when students are able to connect classroom instruction with actual patient interaction.  
     
  • To accomplish our mission of developing clinical competence, students begin their clinical internship experiences within the first semester year of the program.  These initial part-time clinical experiences will serve to develop professional behaviors, connect classroom instruction with actual patient scenarios, and prepare students for full-time clinical internship experiences.  
     
  • Throughout the curriculum, students will engage in 2 part-time and 4 full-time clinical education experiences. Clinical sites offering innovative care by experienced and well-trained Physical Therapist clinical experts will be used to guide students toward entry-level clinical competence.  The ACCE will work closely to forge close relationships between clinical instructors and the DPT Program by establishing clear expectations and communicating anticipated outcomes.  
     
  • The final two 12-week full time experiences are considered post-didactic and resemble the traditional residency model that is often used in medical education.  In this way, the program ensures that each student demonstrates entry-level proficiency prior to graduation. 

 

Clinical Education Course Descriptions

DPT522 - Foundations of Clinical Practice

This course consists of two components which include preparation for clinical practice and the foundational development of basic research skills. The intention of this preparatory course is to enhance each student’s ability to engage in patient management, evidence-based practice, and clinical research. The classroom portion of the course includes an introduction to professional behavior expectations for clinical practice, compliance with HIPAA and OSHA regulations, medical terminology, documentation requirements, and reimbursement/ coding and billing procedures. The research component of this course introduces students to evidence-based practice concepts, basic search strategies, and access to databases and other published resources. Principles of professional writing with adherence to the American Medical Association guidelines are covered. This course serves as a foundation for the series of research courses in the DPT curriculum which culminate in an original research project that will be completed and presented prior to graduation. These learning experiences are designed to enhance each student’s abilities to critically appraise the literature and engage in the process of designing, conducting, and presenting clinical research.

DPT524 - Clinical Practice I

The purpose of this clinical practice course is to foster students’ development of entry-level physical therapy skills. This is the first of four full-time clinical practice courses occurring in the third semester of the curriculum and lasting 6 weeks. This course is designed to support the translation of didactic learning experiences to clinical practice. Under the direct supervision of a Clinical Instructor, each student will further develop and demonstrate competence in clinical skills, critical thinking, professional behaviors, and administrative aspects of physical therapy practice against established benchmarks. Students will perform physical therapy examination, evaluation, PT diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention skills for individuals with impairments and/or movement limitations in one or more body systems. Development of professional behaviors is an important component throughout the clinical practice series and students will have opportunities for self-assessment, self-reflection, and opportunities to receive feedback provided by their Clinical Instructors. Students will be exposed to a variety of patient care experiences which incorporate multiple system diagnoses and impairments across the lifespan and the continuum of care. In addition, students will be critically assessed by their Clinical Instructors against benchmarks commensurate with their learning within the didactic curriculum and will assess their own performance of clinical skills and professional behaviors. By the conclusion of this full-time clinical experience, students are expected to perform at the “Advanced Beginner Performance Level” as delineated by the APTA Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument.

DPT622 - Clinical Practice II

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with opportunities to apply newly learned concepts and skills to patient care within the clinical setting. The focus of this course is on clinical observation and supervised application of appropriate examination and intervention skills/procedures. Throughout the course, an emphasis is placed on the development of professional behaviors within the physical therapy practice setting. Expectations for professional behaviors and skill performance is commensurate with the course objectives. This course will also include a clinical research component. Students will work collaboratively in groups under the advisement of Program faculty. This is one course in a series of courses that culminates in an original research project that will be completed and presented prior to graduation. These learning experiences are designed to enhance students’ ability to critically appraise the literature and engage in the process of designing, conducting, and presenting clinical research.

DPT624 - Clinical Practice III

The purpose of this clinical practice course is to foster students’ development of entry-level physical therapy skills. This is the second of four full-time clinical experiences occurring in the sixth semester of the curriculum and lasting 6 weeks. This course is designed to support translation of didactic learning experiences to clinical practice. Under the direct supervision of a Clinical Instructor, each student will further develop and demonstrate competence in clinical skills, critical thinking, professional behaviors, and administrative aspects of physical therapy practice against established benchmarks. Students will perform physical therapy examination, evaluation, PT diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention skills for individuals with impairments and/or movement limitations in one or more body systems. Development of professional behaviors is an important component throughout the clinical practice series and students will have opportunities for self-assessment, self-reflection, and opportunities to receive feedback provided by their Clinical Instructors. Students will be exposed to a variety of patient care experiences which incorporate multiple system diagnoses and impairments across the lifespan and the continuum of care. In addition, students will be critically assessed by their Clinical Instructors against benchmarks commensurate with their learning within the didactic curriculum and will assess their own performance of clinical skills and professional behaviors. By the conclusion of this full-time clinical experience, students are expected to perform at the “Intermediate Performance Level” as delineated by the APTA Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument.

DPT724 - Clinical Practice IV

The purpose of this clinical internship is to foster the development of the entry-level physical therapist in the outpatient/inpatient orthopedic or neuromuscular settings. This 12-week internship occurs following the completion of all didactic course work. Under the supervision of a clinical instructor, students will practice advanced physical therapy examination, evaluation, PT diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention procedures for individuals with musculoskeletal and neuromuscular disorders. Students will be expected to perform at the “Advanced Intermediate” or “Entry-level” performance as assessed by the APTA Clinical Performance Instrument.

DPT725 - Clinical Practice V

The purpose of this clinical internship is to foster the development of the entry-level physical therapist in the outpatient/inpatient orthopedic or neuromuscular settings. This 12-week internship occurs following the completion of all didactic course work. Under the supervision of a clinical instructor, students will practice advanced physical therapy examination, evaluation, PT diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention procedures for individuals with musculoskeletal and neuromuscular disorders. Students will be expected to perform at Entry-level performance as assessed by the APTA Clinical Performance Instrument.

 

 

 

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Alvernia University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 610-568-1546 or email christopher.wise@alvernia.edu.


For more information regarding the process of accreditation, please contact the:

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-706-3245
Email: accreditation@apta.org

DPT Doctor of Physical Therapy