PT Program Description

Description of Program
The School of Allied Health Professions at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) offers a program leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. The program requires a minimum of 3 years undergraduate study prior to admission to the three-year professional program at UNMC. The Division of Physical Therapy Education, established at UNMC in 1970, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and approved by the Nebraska Department of Education. UNMC enjoys full accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Students in the Division of Physical Therapy Education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center receive a comprehensive entry-level education in a program that includes didactic and clinical coursework, including full-time clinical experience. Upon graduation, students qualify to sit for licensure examination.

Program Goals and Expected Outcomes
1.  Upon completion of the entry-level DPT program, the students/graduates will be successfully prepared for entry-level employment as licensed physical therapists.
2.  Upon completion of the entry-level program, the students/graduates will be prepared to successfully provide evidence-based, patient-centered care as members of an interprofessional team.  
3.  Upon completion of the entry-level DPT program, the students/graduates will demonstrate commitment to professional development and service, including outreach to underserved populations.
4.  The faculty will conduct scholarly activities that contribute to the evidence and influence change in clinical and educational practice.
5.  The faculty will participate in a variety of professional service activities consistent with the expectations of faculty within the SAHP and University.
6.  The program provides educational and professional development opportunities beyond the entry-level degree curriculum to a variety of audiences.

Curriculum Overview
The professional program is three years in length. Learning opportunities include lecture-laboratory courses, seminars, independent study opportunities, laboratory practical examinations and supervised clinical practice. The curriculum provides opportunities to develop abilities in teaching, supervision, administration, and research in physical therapy. Although a thesis is not required, opportunities exist for interested students to actively participate in research in a number of areas. Patient simulations using various levels of technology are included throughout the curriculum (see the virtual tour of the Clinical Skills Center in the Michael Sorrell Center in this website). In addition, there are service learning and leadership opportunities available in UNMC student-run clinics. The Division reserves the right to modify the curriculum as necessary to comply with accreditation standards and to reflect advancements in the health sciences.

Clinical Education
The clinical education component of the curriculum provides students the opportunity to directly apply the physical therapy theories and techniques acquired during the classroom instruction, as well as the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes best learned in the clinical environment. The intent of clinical education is to provide the student with a broad exposure to physical therapy practice in a variety of settings and geographic locations. The clinical education component is under the direction of the Director of Clinical Education.

Currently, the clinical education component of the curriculum consists of 34 weeks over the course of the three year professional program. Clinical experiences are scheduled in advance and are subject to change at the discretion of the clinical education site or the office of the Director of Clinical Education.

Some clinical education sites may require an assigned student to undergo a criminal background check and/or drug screening prior to participation in a clinical education experience. Please note, travel and living expenses for clinical education experiences should be anticipated.

Health Information
Students are not permitted to enroll at UNMC until a medical history and evidence of vaccinations or immunities are provided to the Student Health Services Clinic. Students are required to provide physician certification of the following: a previous vaccination for rubella or evidence of an immune titer, tetanus inoculations within the last 10 years, Rubeola (measles), vaccination for mumps and polio or documentation of having the disease previously, history of or evidence of immune titer to varicella (chicken pox). Students are strongly encouraged to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine prior to matriculation or to start the vaccination process upon matriculation.

All full-time students within the program are required to have health and accident insurance through a student health insurance program contracted by UNMC unless evidence of comparable coverage is provided.

Academic and Professional Standards
Students must receive a passing grade of "C-" or better or "Pass" in all courses and maintain an overall quality grade point average of 2.33 (on a 4.0 scale) or above. Grades of less than "C-" are considered as failing within the physical therapy program. Physical therapy education requires the student to demonstrate skills of observation, communication, sensory, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and qualitative abilities, and professionalism. As such, students must successfully meet all of the program's performance standards by passing all laboratory practical examinations and clinical education experiences, in addition to successful completion of didactic work. The standing of a student in any course is determined by the instructor of the course by examinations, laboratory and clinical performance, class participation, written assignments, personal observation, and other methods of evaluation.

Americans with Disabilities Act
Students enrolled in the DPT program are expected to meet the Essential Functions set forth by the UNMC Division of Physical Therapy Education in order to be eligible for graduation. Sections 502 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) give students with disabilities certain rights with regard to student and staff services and the curriculum. For information on the process for requesting accommodation for disability, please contact: Services for Students with Disabilities, Counseling and Student Development Center, Bennett Hall room 6001, phone (402) 559-7276.

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