The Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at Central Michigan University
is a difficult and intense program which places specific demands on a student
enrolled in the program.
placed on the students during their academic preparation correspond closely to
the intellectual and physical demands which a graduate will encounter as a
practicing physical therapist.
The program at Central
has been designed to prepare students to enter the profession as a generalist
with the skills, knowledge, and ability to successfully perform all the
required functions associated with the role of an entry-level physical
The purpose of this document is to delineate the essential
functions associated with the role of the physical therapy student and the
physical therapist, and to identify the technical abilities or standards needed
to perform those functions.
In keeping with applicable federal and state laws regarding
disabilities and our program philosophy, we are committed to making reasonable
accommodations for all individuals with disabilities to enable them to successfully
complete their education and to perform the skills necessary to the role of
physical therapist. If a student feels
they have a disability which may require special accommodation to perform any
of the tasks identified below, it is the student’s responsibility to register
with the Office of Student Disability Services.
Please read carefully the documents titled “Essential
Functions” and “Technical Standards” to determine whether you are able to
perform the required tasks.
To perform the role of a physical therapist and be
successful in the physical therapy program the student must be able to:
Utilize appropriate and effective spoken, written and
non-verbal communication with faculty, students, staff, administrators,
patients, families and others. Students
must be able to use and understand the English language at a level consistent
with competent professional practice.
Perform appropriate physical therapy (PT) examination
and intervention procedures in a safe, reliable, ethical, efficient and
competent manner in accordance with state and federal laws and guidelines.
Appropriately identify and determine the PT diagnosis,
prognosis and needs of any patient whose condition falls within the scope of
practice of PT.
Demonstrate the ability to consistently adhere to and
apply universal precautions in appropriate situations.
Develop and document a plan of care appropriate for
patients’ status and desired goals.
Recognize the psychosocial impact of dysfunction and
disability and integrate the needs of the patient and family into the plan of
Demonstrate management skills for PT practice which
would include supervision, delegation, and working as a member of the health
Develop and implement programs for prevention,
education, and health promotion which appropriately utilize theories of
teaching and learning in both health care and community environments.
Comprehend, integrate, and synthesize information from
the clinical, natural, and social sciences.
To perform the essential functions of the role of physical
therapist and be successful in this physical therapy educational curriculum, an
individual must possess specific skills and abilities. These abilities can be divided into 4
These technical skills are outlined below for each of the
To accomplish the essential function of the role of the
physical therapist the student must be able to:
Accurately observe the patient’s activity and
behavior during examinations and interventions.
Appropriately take a patient history.
Observe changes in patient status which may
require modification of activity or intervention such as: color of skin, breathing regularity, heart
rate, temperature of skin, muscle tone, and facial expressions.
Read and interpret information from diagnostic
tests, equipment, and patient charts such as EKG and radiographs.
Accurately monitor dials, displays, and
equipment used in treatment of patients including exercise equipment and
Attend lecture and laboratory classes and access
laboratories, classrooms, and work stations.
Attend clinical internships in assigned
Accomplish required tasks in clinical and
Perform emergency procedures such as CPR in a
B. Strength tasks
Safely lift and transfer patients.
Safely assist and guard patients during gait
Safely and effectively administer exercise and
examination procedures which require resistance or facilitation.
Manually adjust exercise equipment and assistive
motor and coordination skills
Use palpation and touch to accurately assess
changes in muscle tone, tissue temperature, joint position, and joint play.
Accurately set equipment dials and apply
Complete and accurately assess vital signs
(e.g., BP, pulse … and other examination procedures).
Legibly complete documentation activities.
Comprehend, integrate, and synthesize a large
body of knowledge in a short period of time.
Utilize knowledge of natural, clinical, and
social sciences to develop appropriate interventions in a clinical setting.
Use appropriate written and verbal formats for
communication of patient information and classroom assignments.
Understand theory, research literature, and
principles that apply to physical therapy practice.
Analyze and solve complex patient problems.
Reflect on performance accurately to
Demonstrate appreciation and respect for
individual, social, and cultural differences in fellow students, professional
colleagues, patients and caregivers.
Demonstrate appropriate behaviors and attitudes
to protect the safety and well being of patients and classmates.
Demonstrate ability to appropriately handle
situations which may be physically and emotionally or intellectually stressful
including situations which must be handled swiftly and calmly.
Demonstrate flexibility and the ability to
adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in an academic or clinical