DPT Direct Entry Essential Functions

Physical Therapy Program Direct Entry Essential Functions

  • Essential Function Requirements for Admission to and Progression in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

    Participation in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program requires that each student possess the ability to meet all of the Essential Function Requirements of the program:

    1. Observation Skills
      1. The student must be able to participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises throughout the curriculum.
      2. The student must be able to accurately make observations both near and at a distance.
      3. Observation and information acquisition requires the functional use of vision and sense of touch and is enhanced by the functional use of all of the other senses.

    2. Communication Skills
      1. The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and assess nonverbal communications.
      2. The student must be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information in verbal and written form to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, and all members of the healthcare team.
      3. The student must possess required communication skills include speaking, reading, and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.

    3. Motor Skills
      1. The student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers.
      2. The student must be capable of performing basic laboratory tests, possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures, and execute the motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.
      3. The student must have sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination to perform profession-specific skills and tasks (for example, move at least 50 pounds vertically and horizontally).

    4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities
      1. The student must be able to measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapists, requires all of these intellectual abilities.
      2. The student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
      3. The student must have the capacity to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion.

    5. Behavioral and Social Attributes
      1. The student must be able to fully utilize his or her intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment. Prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients is required.
      2. The student must be capable of developing mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and others.
      3. The student must also be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
      4. The student must have compassion, integrity, concern for others, effective interpersonal skills, willingness and ability to function as an effective team player, and interest and motivation to learn.

    6. Professional Behaviors and Conduct
      1. The student must possess the ability to reason morally and practice in an ethical manner
      2. The student must be willing to learn and abide by professional standards of practice.
      3. The student must possess attributes consistent with the seven core values (accountability, altruism, compassion. caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, social responsibility), and the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist, and in addition demonstrate empathy, honesty, and tolerance.
      4. The student must be able to engage in patient care delivery in all settings and be able to deliver care to all patient populations including but not limited to children, adolescents, adults, developmentally disabled persons, medically compromised patients, and vulnerable adults.
      5. The student must practice safely, ethically, and legally.
    Students with disabilities are expected to perform all the essential functions of the Program with or without reasonable accommodation. The University will work with the student and the respective campus disability office to provide, if possible, reasonable accommodations. While the University will make every effort to work with our students with disabilities to accommodate their disability related needs, it is important to note we are not required to provide requested accommodations that would fundamentally alter the essential qualifications, functions, technical standards, or other academic requirements of the Program, or result in an undue financial or administrative burden.

    Students who may not meet the Essential Function Requirements must inform the Director of the Physical Therapy Program, who will then contact the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Director of the Physical Therapy Program will identify and discuss what accommodations, if any, the University (Program) would need to make that would allow the candidate to complete the curriculum.

    The University (Program) is not able to grant accommodations that alter the educational standards of the curriculum. Students must meet the Essential Function Requirements for the duration of enrollment in their professional program.

    The essential functions outlined above have been formulated based on the mission, philosophy, and goals of the program and the University; the guidelines of the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association; Professional Behaviors for the 21st Century; The Guide to Physical Therapy Practice 3.0; the Normative Model of Physical Therapist Education; the APTA Guide for Professional Conduct; and the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist. In addition, although not serving as a primary basis for this document, several policy statements from other universities were reviewed by the Essential Functions Committee of the Program in Physical Therapy to provide a framework for the organization of this document.