Physical therapy is a mentally, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Throughout the DPT curriculum, students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors that are necessary for a successful career as a physical therapist. Technical standards reflect those abilities that a physical therapist must possess for safe and effective clinical practice. Prospective and current students must meet the following technical requirements with or without reasonable accommodation for admission, progression, and graduation from the DPT Program.
General Abilities: The student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement.
Observational Ability: Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, somatic sensations, and the use of common sense. Candidates must have visual perception, which includes depth and acuity. A student must be able to observe lectures, laboratory-dissected prosections, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine a patient’s condition. Candidates must be able to observe patients and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. Examples in which these observational skills are required include palpation of peripheral pulses; soft tissue changes, bony prominences and ligamentous structures; visual and tactile evaluation for areas of inflammation; and visual and tactile assessment of the presence and degree of edema. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and nearby, noting non-verbal as well as verbal signals.
Communication Ability: Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively and convey a sense of compassion and empathy with patients to elicit information regarding mood and activities, as well as to perceive non-verbal communications. Physical Therapy education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of required reading and the necessity to impart information to others. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. Students must be able to complete forms according to directions in a complete and timely fashion.
Interpersonal Abilities: The student is expected to have the emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment and complete assessment and intervention activities. The student is expected to establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. The student is expected to have the flexibility to function effectively under stress. Concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation are necessary personal qualities.
Motor/Psychomotor Ability: Students must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from the patient examination, by palpation, auscultation, tapping, and other evaluation maneuvers. Students must be able to execute movements required to provide general and therapeutic care, such as positioning large or immobile patients, gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics, positioning, and performing manual mobilization techniques, performing non- surgical wound debridement, and placing electromyographic electrodes. Candidates must have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency treatment to patients. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision.
Intellectual – Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Analysis Abilities: To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history, physical examination, and laboratory data; provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy; and recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating treatment and plans is essential. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of structures. Students must have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, retrieving, and communicating information.
Behavioral/Social Attributes and Professionalism: Students must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities; for the exercise of good judgment; for the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients; and for the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. As a component of their education, students must demonstrate ethical behavior.
Specifically, students must be able to:
Attend and participate in online and onsite classes for 30 or more hours per week during each academic semester. Classes consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical activities.
Use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive and participate in classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction and to evaluate and treat patients.
Read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-therapist relationships.
Complete readings, assignments, and other learning activities during and outside of class hours.
Apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and the clinic.
Exercise sound judgment in class and in the clinic.
Participate in clinical education experiences, which typically require students to be present 40 or more hours per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the clinic.
Recognize, gather, and synthesize critical pieces of information for clinical reasoning and decision- making during patient assessment activities in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary (classmate, aide, etc.).
Perform physical therapy interventions in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries.
Sit for two to 10 hours daily, stand for two to four hours daily, and walk or travel for two hours daily during instructional activities. In clinical situations, alternately sit, stand, and walk for up to 10 hours daily.
Frequently lift weights less than 10 pounds and occasionally lift weights between 10 and 100 pounds.
Occasionally carry up to 25 pounds while walking up to 50 feet.
Frequently exert 75 pounds of push/pull forces to objects up to 50 feet and
occasionally exert 150 pounds of push/pull forces for this distance.
Frequently move from place-to-place and position-to- position at a speed that permits safe handling of classmates and patients.
Frequently stand and walk while providing support to a classmate simulating a disability or while supporting a patient with a disability.
Occasionally climb stairs and negotiate uneven terrain.
Frequently use the hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills.
Frequently coordinate verbal and manual activities with gross motor activities.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify the program in writing if the applicant cannot meet one or more of these technical requirements. Medical documentation must be provided describing the inability to meet one or more of the requirements.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program works closely with the Hanover College Office of Accessibility Services to serve the needs of students with disabilities. (For more detailed information see the later section for Student Support Services and Services for Students with Disabilities.) Reasonable accommodation refers to ways in which the College can assist students with disabilities to accomplish learning activities (e.g., providing extra time to complete an examination or enhancing the sound system in a classroom). Reasonable accommodation does not mean that students with disabilities will be exempt from completing certain tasks. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will provide the applicant with their findings, recommendations, and/or decision in writing.
Applicants who cannot complete these tasks, even with reasonable accommodation, are not eligible for admission. Any previously made offer of admission may be withdrawn it becomes apparent that the student cannot complete essential tasks even with accommodation, or that the accommodations needed are not reasonable and would cause undue hardship to the institution, or that fulfilling the functions would create a significant risk of harm to the health or safety of others.
The Americans with Disabilities Act: Applying Performance and Conduct Standards to Employees with Disabilities states that “An employee with a disability must meet the same production standards, whether quantitative or qualitative, as a non-disabled employee in the same job. Lowering or changing a production standard because an employee cannot meet it due to a disability is not considered a reasonable accommodation. However, a reasonable accommodation may be required to assist an employee in meeting a specific production standard.” Therefore, all DPT students are required to meet the industry standard for productivity in clinical education courses, and so additional time on skills checks, practical examinations, or in clinic will not be considered reasonable accommodations.
Students are required to have a laptop computer and a mobile device that meet the following specifications.
Laptop computers with Windows or Apple/Macintosh operating systems are acceptable. The following is a list of minimum requirements:
Android and Apple products are acceptable and must have mobile broadband capabilities. Please see below for example products.
Android – Example products include phones and tablets from Acer, ASUS, Google, HTC, and Samsung. Android operating system version 6.0 or newer required.
Apple – Example products include the iPhone and iPad of various generations. Apple operating system version 9.0 or newer required.
Microsoft – Products such as Surface, Surface Pro, and Lumia devices are NOT supported as multiple software applications required for the program are not currently compatible with Windows operating systems.
Students are required to have the laptop computer and mobile device in their
possession at the time of the DPT Program Orientation.
Software is required that enables viewing and editing frequently used file types,
including Microsoft files (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) and portable document files (PDFs). Even while using the most compatible applications, some software and applications may not be fully compatible with all hardware and across all platforms.
For example, Adobe Flash files may not run on some Apple and Android operating systems. In these situations where incompatibility results, it is the student’s responsibility to view any required files utilizing compatible hardware. All assessments, with the exception of certain lab exams, contributing to >5% of the final course grade will be administered via a secure-testing computer software. Students will download and register secure-testing software to their personal laptop computers during the onsite orientation. Tablets and mobile devices cannot be used for computer-based testing.
A variety of mobile device applications are required for use throughout the program.
Mobile broadband capability for the mobile device is suggested to provide an internet connection when a local wireless network is not available.