The practice of Physical Therapy requires essential functions that include communication skills , behavioral skills, critical thinking, and sensory/motor skills to safely, appropriately, and effectively evaluate and manage patients/clients. Such skills are crucial for the safety of the public with whom you will care for as well as for yourself. The following is a list of essential functions that a student must be capable of performing while enrolled in the Touro College Physical Therapy Programs.
Candidate must be able to utilize effective and efficient communications with peers, faculty, patients and their families, and other health care providers. Candidate must be able to adjust communication strategies based on situational needs. This includes, but is not limited to the ability to:
- Read English at a competency level that allows one to safely and efficiently carry out the essential functions of an assignment (examples; handwritten chart data, printed equipment operations manuals).
- Effectively communicate (interpret and express) information regarding the comfort and well being of patients, and to communicate with patients/families, healthcare professionals, support and administrative personnel.
- Recognize, interpret, and respond appropriately to non-verbal behavior/social cues of self and others.
- Communicate effectively in English orally and in legible written form in the classroom, laboratory and clinical settings.
- Complete reading assignments and search and review the literature.
- Complete written assignments and required paperwork in a timely manner.
- Use therapeutic communication, such as active listening, clarifying, coaching, facilitating and touching as it relates to the academic and clinical setting.
- Demonstrate effective verbal and written communication that is professionally and technically correct.
- Modify communications based on respect for and sensitivity to cultural differences.
Candidate must be capable of exercising good judgment, developing empathic and therapeutic relationships with patients and patient’s families, colleagues, administration and support personnel faculty. This also includes, but is not limited to the ability to:
- Work with multiple patients/families and colleagues simultaneously.
- Work with lab partners and faculty role playing appropriately under normal and stressful conditions, including but not limited to those which involve medically or emotionally unstable individuals, situations requiring rapid adaptations, the provision of CPR, or other emergency interventions.
- Work in all types of clinical settings.
- Prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information, make decisions and demonstrate organizational skills necessary to meet deadlines and manage time.
- Adhere to legal standards of practice.
- Act safely and ethically in the physical therapy lab and clinic.
- Perform in a professional manner in classroom and clinical situations.
- Accept constructive criticism and institute appropriate change.
Critical Thinking Skills
Candidate must possess sufficient abilities in the areas of calculation, critical problem solving, reasoning and assessment to be able to comprehend and process information in a timely manner. Candidate must be able to logically prioritize and organize and to attend to tasks and responsibilities efficiently. This includes, but is not limited to the ability to:
- Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data.
- Collect, interpret, assess and document data about patients.
- Prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information and make decisions.
- Apply knowledge of principles, indications and contraindications for all physical therapy treatment interventions.
Candidate must have the sensory/motor skills necessary to be able to participate in and learn from lecture, demonstration and laboratory experience as well as from clinical internships.
The candidate must have sufficient visual ability (corrected or adapted as necessary) to gather information by:
- Reading effectively in English
- Dials and numbers on equipment
- Perception of
- Three dimensional relationships
- Spatial relationships
- Observation of
- Skin (i.e. color, textures, scars, etc.)
- Walking patterns
- Normal and abnormal movement patterns
- Facial expressions and other non-verbal communications
- Physiological responses before, during, and after treatment
- Environment to ensure patient safety
- Classroom laboratory demonstration and practice
- Classroom visual aides
The candidate must have sufficient auditory capability (corrected or adapted, as necessary) to be able to:
- Receive verbally presented material in the classroom
- Receive verbally presented information from patients, health care professionals and ancillary personnel in a clinical setting.
- Perform examinations of the heart and lungs, using a stethoscope and other means, to respond safely and in a timely manner to changes in patient status
- Respond safely and in a timely manner to environmental sounds such as calls for assistance from patients, smoke or fire alarms, bells and timers
The candidate must have sufficient oral capability (corrected or adapted, as necessary) to be able to:
- Speak clearly enough for safe and effective communication with others
- Modulate speech volume for safe, effective, and appropriate communication with others
The candidate must have sufficient sensory capability of touch (corrected or adapted, as necessary) to be able to:
- Obtain accurate patient examination information through touch such as
- Discrimination of hot/cold, tissue thickness and character, joint stiffness,
- Perform safe, effective, and appropriate manual techniques
- Respond appropriately and effectively to changes in patient status
The candidate must have sufficient motor skills (adapted as necessary) to be able to execute motor movements required to provide general and therapeutic care and allow performance of:
- Therapeutic procedures
- Diagnostic tests
- General and emergency treatments to patients
- Gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics
- Moving and/or transferring patients in a manner that is safe for the student and the patient including positioning heavy and/or immobile patients
- Tests and measures in the examination of patients through
- Strength testing
- Mobility testing
- Other physical therapy evaluative procedures