Clinical Education Goals

The Division of Physical Therapy Goals of Clinical Education are based upon the criteria outlined in the APTA's Clinical Performance instrument. Upon the completion of the didactic and clinical requirements of this program, the student will have met the following goals of clinical education:


  1. Protects the welfare of self, patient, and others in emergency situations
  2. Maintains a safe working environment
  3. Observes health and safety regulations
  4. Adjusts treatments according to observed physiological and/or psychological changes
  5. Requests assistance when necessary

Responsible and Professional Behaviors

  1. Accepts responsibility for own actions
  2. Is punctual, dependable, and adapts to change
  3. Completes scheduled assignments in a timely manner
  4. Abides by policies and procedures of the practice setting
  5. Wears attire consistent with expectations of the practice setting
  6. Consistently treats others with positive regard, dignity, respect, and compassion
  7. Demonstrates behaviors that contribute to a positive and productive work environment
  8. Maintains productive relationships with patients/clients, families, clinical instructors, health care team
  9. Maintains patient privacy and modesty at all times

Ethical and Legal Practice

  1. Abides by the APTA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Guidelines
  2. Adheres to institutional policies and procedures
  3. Abides by state and federal laws/regulations including those applying to state licensure laws
  4. Identifies situations which present legal/ethical questions or dilemmas and seeks appropriate recourse


  1. Communicates, verbally, nonverbally, and written, in a professional and timely manner
  2. Interprets and responds appropriately to the nonverbal communication of others
  3. Evaluates and interprets the effectiveness of his/her own communication skills and makes appropriate modifications
  4. Documents all aspects of physical therapy care including screenings, examination, evaluation, plan of care, treatment, response to treatment, discharge planning, family conferences and communication with others involved in delivery of patient care
  5. Documentation is consistent with policies and procedures of the practice setting, and, with the guidelines and requirements of regulatory agencies and third party payers

Respect for Individual and Cultural Differences

  1. Exhibits and sensitivity to differences in race, creed, color, gender, age, national/ethnic origins, sexual orientation, and disability or health status in: communicating with others, and developing/implementing plans of care

Critical Inquiry

  1. Presents cogent and concise arguments or rationale for clinical decisions
  2. Utilizes information from multiple data sources to make clinical decisions
  3. Seeks disconfirming evidence in the process of clinical decision making
  4. Critically evaluates published research articles relevant to physical therapy practice and applies appropriately to clinical practice
  5. Participates in clinical research
  6. Demonstrates ability to make clinical decisions in ambiguous situations
  7. Uses appropriate outcome measures in the delivery and assessment of ongoing patient care

Screening and Evaluation Skills

  1. Screens patients using procedures to determine the effectiveness of and need for physical therapy services
  2. Identifies critical signs and symptoms signaling the need for physical therapy examination
    1. selects appropriate screening procedures
    2. conducts screening in a technically competent manner and interprets findings
    3. based on screenings, determines need for physical therapy or referral to other providers
  3. Performs a physical therapy examination in a technically competent manner
  4. Selects reliable and valid physical examination methods relevant to chief complaint, history, and screening results
    1. obtains accurate information by performing the selected examination methods
    2. adjusts examination according to patient response
    3. minimizes risk to patient, self, others involved in the delivery of care, during performance of the examination
  5. Evaluates clinical findings to determine physical therapy diagnoses/outcomes of care within his/her knowledge base
    1. Identifies competing diagnoses which must be ruled out to establish a diagnosis
    2. explains influence of pathological, pathophysiological, and pharmacological processes on patient's movement system
    3. identifies pertinent medical, social, or psychological problems influencing physical therapy care
    4. establishes a prognosis within the practitioner's knowledge base
    5. performs timely re-examination of patient status and on-going assessment of effectiveness of treatment interventions

Development and Implementation of Treatment Plan

  1. Designs a physical therapy plan of care that integrates goals, treatment, outcomes, and discharge plan
  2. Establishes measurable goals and desired functional outcomes that specify expected time durations
    1. establishes a physical therapy plan of care in collaboration with the patient, family/caregiver, and others involved in the delivery of health care services
    2. establishes a plan of care consistent with the examination and evaluation
    3. adjusts plan of care in response to changes in patient status
    4. selects intervention strategies to achieve maximum patient outcome
    5. establishes a plan for patient discharge in a timely manner
  3. Performs physical therapy interventions in a competent manner
  4. Performs effective, efficient, fluid, and coordinated movement in providing
    1. technically competent interventions consistent with the plan of care
    2. performs interventions consistent with plan of care
    3. performs interventions in a safe, efficient, and timely manner
    4. adapts interventions to meet the individual needs and responses of the patient

Education of others (patients, family/caregiver, staff, students, other health care providers)

  1. Identifies and establishes priorities for educational needs in collaboration with the learner
  2. Designs educational activities to address identified needs
  3. Utilizes a variety of instructional strategies as needed
  4. Evaluates effectiveness of educational activities
  5. Modifies educational activities considering learner's needs, characteristics, and capabilities


  1. Participates in activities addressing quality of service delivery, including, but not limited to quality assurance, peer review, and utilization review
  2. Follows established guidelines for delivery of physical therapy services (e.g., critical/clinical pathways, protocols)
  3. Determines need and provides consultation to individuals, businesses, schools, government agencies, etc
  4. Manages resources (e.g., time, space, equipment) to achieve goals of the practice setting
  5. Incorporates understanding of economic factors in the delivery of physical therapy services
  6. adapts services appropriately and ethically
    1. acts in a fiscally responsible manner
    2. submits accurate patient charges on time
    3. adheres to reimbursement guidelines established by payers
    4. negotiates with reimbursement entities for changes in individual patient services

Utilization and Supervision of Support Personnel

  1. Determines physical therapy-related tasks that can be legally and ethically delegated
  2. Delegates appropriate tasks to facilitate effective and efficient patient care
  3. Informs patient of decision to and rationale for delegation of physical therapy-related services
  4. Provides appropriate and timely instruction, monitoring, and on-going feedback
  5. Demonstrates respect for contribution of support personnel

Professional and Social Responsibilities

  1. Demonstrates a willingness to alter schedule to accommodate patient needs/facility requirements
  2. Participates in special events organized in the practice setting related to patients and the delivery of care
  3. Participates in professional organizations and service groups
  4. Promotes profession of physical therapy

Career Development/Lifelong Learning

  1. Accepts responsibility for continuous professional learning
  2. Demonstrates knowledge of current professional issues and practice
  3. Demonstrates awareness of own strengths and limitations
  4. Seeks guidance or opportunities to enhance skills/knowledge base in addressing limitations
  5. Modifies behavior based on self-evaluation and constructive feedback
  6. Establishes realistic goals for professional development
  7. Participates in learning experiences within the practice setting
  8. Discusses and assesses own professional growth on an on-going basis

Wellness and Health Promotion

  1. Educates patients or other individuals, groups, or communities on health promotion, prevention, and wellness
  2. Provides information on impairment, disease, disability, and health risks related to age, gender, culture, lifestyle
  3. Incorporates concept of self-responsibility in wellness and health promotion
  4. Describes potential health problems addressed by physical therapy in individuals, groups, and communities
  5. Participates in and provides screening programs appropriate to physical therapy