Clinical Education Overview

Purpose Statement

Clinical education is an essential component in the physical therapy curriculum. Clinical affiliations provide the integration of the student’s didactic and laboratory coursework into a real clinical practice setting. The student will integrate his/her cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills in an environment that facilitates them to develop and become a competent entry-level physical therapist. It is through a cooperative effort between the University, clinical site, and student that the clinical education program meets its goal of ensuring quality full-time clinical experiences for our students.

Integration of Clinical Education through the Entry-Level DPT Program

The Clinical Education Program provides the student with a series of clinical experiences, which exposes the student to a variety of practice settings. It is through the integrated and full-time clinical affiliations that the student achieves curricular goals which lead to entry-level competence.

Students have several different types of clinical experiences in our program. The first type occurs throughout the curriculum. The student participates in clinical experiences based on the didactic information presented in the classroom. Students are introduced to patient populations in courses such as Clinical Skills, Evidence-Based Physical Therapy, Advanced Clinical Physiology, Neurosciences, Movement Science, Medical Pathology in Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation in Select Patient Populations, Neurorehabilitation, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Musculoskeletal and Integumentary. In many of these courses, students have opportunities to visit local clinical sites to observe, examine, evaluate, and/or treat patients. During the clinic visit, the students are supervised by faculty or clinical faculty.

The second type of clinical experience are the integrated and full-time clinical affiliations of approximately 35 weeks. The clinical affiliations provide the student with opportunities to learn the foundation of patient care, to develop skills in patient/staff education, health promotion/prevention, and administration.

  • PT 791 Clinical Internship I: The first full-time clinical education experience occurs during the fall in the fifth semester of the program after successful completion of all required academic coursework and practical examinations. The educational experience is eight weeks in duration and is scheduled from early August to late September. The students are placed in an acute care hospital, sub-acute facility, or outpatient The student is supervised by a licensed physical therapist and will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned during the prior full year of the program. Emphasis is placed on safe and effective physical therapy practice, applying principles of professional conduct, competence with basic tests/exam, basic patient management skills, competence in communication skills, and documentation.
  • PT 792 Clinical Internship II: The second full-time clinical education experience occurs during the fall in the eighth semester of the program after successful completion of all didactic curriculum and practical examinations. The educational experience is twelve weeks in duration and is scheduled from early October to mid-December. A student may choose from a variety of clinical settings such as acute care, outpatient, orthopedics, geriatrics, neurology, pediatrics, or rehabilitation. During this education experience, the emphasis is on the student mastery of patient examination/evaluation, re-evaluation, patient management skills, and interventions.
  • PT 793 Clinical Internship III: The third full-time clinical education experience occurs during the spring in the final semester of the program after successful completion of all didactic curriculum and practical examinations. The educational experience is fifteen weeks in duration and is scheduled from early January to late April. Students may choose a specialty area of interest or improve their skills while participating in a clinical setting in which they have already The emphasis for the students is clinical competence and entry-level performance in all areas of patient care.

Clinicians may also use the Marshall University School of Physical Therapy website (http://www.marshall.edu/physical-therapy/) to obtain additional information about the College of Health Professions and the School of Physical Therapy.

Clinicians can also access the University Graduate Catalog http://www.marshall.edu/catalog/graduate-catalogs/) for additional policies and procedures.