Learning Opportunities in Physical Therapy
As a DPT student at University of the Sciences, you’ll find special opportunities to learn on every level in many different environments—not just in the classroom. You’ll work in the field, where you’ll do things that prepare you for the real world. You’ll work with real patients in real clinic settings and have the opportunity to pursue research with faculty. Our DPT program is about more than a degree--it's about experiences that prepare you for a fulfilling career in physical therapy.
Clinical rotations in a variety of health care settings
In the summer after your third year, you begin the professional phase of your education. Clinical education is a vital component of this professional education. Under the supervision of a clinical instructor who is a licensed physical therapist, you integrate knowledge, skills and professional development in the field through part-time and full-time clinical education experiences.
University of the Sciences affiliates with more than 350 clinical sites, including:
- Large medical systems with acute-care and specialty clinics
- Inpatient rehabilitation centers
- Community hospitals and clinics
- Skilled nursing facilities and sub-acute rehabilitation centers
- Outpatient offices that may offer specialties such as women’s health, work hardening and neurological rehabilitation
- School and preschool programs
- Occupational medicine
- Home health care
- Sports medicine clinics
Many of the full-time clinical rotations will take place at locations within two hours of Philadelphia, but you may receive training outside of this geographical area.
The Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic
Launched in 2002 as a partnership among University of the Sciences, Mercy Health System and the City of Philadelphia, the Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic provides underserved residents of Southwest and West Philadelphia with access to physical therapy services while giving you a unique context in which to learn. Through clinic experiences, you benefit from a faculty mentorship beginning in the first year of your professional curriculum.
Participation in the clinic—working hands-on with patients in a real-world environment—helps bolster your self-confidence and decision-making skills. Faculty members derive a greater sense of their role as professionals in addressing society’s needs. After student and faculty recognition of its importance, the Pro Bono Clinic was permanently added to the physical therapy curriculum. Since its inception, the clinic has provided care to more than 800 uninsured patients and countless invaluable experiences to students and faculty alike.
Physical Therapy faculty are constantly performing research and engaging students to participate with them. Much of their work is done in the Physical Therapy Department’s Motion Analysis Laboratory, located within the Patricia Leahy Memorial Research Laboratory, and in the BTE Technologies™ Rehabilitation Research Laboratory. Both labs are equipped with some of the most advanced technology in the field:
- Bertec nonconductive force plates
- The MotionMonitor® data acquisition, analysis, and visualization system
- MuscleLab 4020e-kit—Testing unit including light mat, 8 channel EMG,electric goniometer, accelerometer
- LOGIQ e BT11—Ultrasound imaging including 12L-RS Probe. Cart, printer, software
- GT3XE-Plus Triaxial Activity Monitors
- Biodex System 2 computerized dynamometer
- Twin axis electronic goniometer
- GaitRite computerized walkway system for gait analysis
- Zeno 4x4' Walkway for measuring balance
- Biodex dynamometer
- BTE Primus RS Rehabilitation System
- BTE MCU Multi Cervical Unit
- BTE Eval Tech Functional Testing System
Current Leahy and BTE Lab research and training projects include:
- Analysis of upper limb training techniques in post-stroke individuals
- Analysis of muscle activation patterns of quadriceps using open and closed kinetic techniques
- Analysis of the reaching ability on the involved side of individuals who have had a stroke
- Investigation of the efficacy of commonly used open and closed kinetic chain exercises of the lower extremity and how or if they make knee rehabilitation more efficient and effective
- Investigation of hip muscle strength in males with patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Investigation of the impact on pain, function, and lower extremity biomechanics of a core and hip muscle strengthening program as a treatment for adults with knee osteoarthritis affecting the patellofemoral compartment of the knee
- Analysis of hip external and internal rotator muscle strength when measured with the hip at different positions as commonly used in clinical practice
- Research studies evaluating lower extremity muscle strength and endurance, function, motor control, and tendon and muscle structure in healthy individuals and patients with orthopedic injuries, with a special focus on foot, ankle and Achilles tendon injuries. Furthermore, analysis of how these injuries affect the individual's physical activity level, pain and symptoms.
Research and Service Learning
As a physical therapy student, you’ll have the opportunity to become involved in research projects initiated by faculty and to spearhead meaningful community projects on your own. Research involvement gives students a dynamic view of how new techniques and philosophies emerge, while community learning projects allow you to gain experience in presenting wellness topics and developing solutions to address specific health issues, as well as to work hands-on with clients through the process.
Examples of recent service projects include:
- A series of wellness presentations, fliers and brochures provided on campus to faculty, staff and students of the University.
- Development of an interactive exercise and educational website for people with traumatic brain injuries, cerebral vascular accidents, spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis
- An online exercise program for cancer patients located on OncoLink
- Participation in the locomotor training program at Magee Rehabilitation, a member of the NeuroRecovery Network
- A health fair at a neighborhood retirement community
- The use of objective measures in hippotherapy.
- Participation in School Trips for Students with Disability: School professionals’ perspectives on strategies for trip planning
Each program at University of the Sciences has developed student learning objectives. PT program student learning objectives are:
- Professional Practice: Graduates will use the best evidence to demonstrate reflective clinical decision making and skill performance in all aspects of patient/client management to achieve optimal outcomes.
- Practice Management: Graduates will be able to practice autonomously within an evolving, complex, and diverse health care environment.
- Leadership: Graduates will be engaged in leadership activities tailored to meet their own goals for professional development.
Physical therapy students must consistently demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodations, the physical, emotional and cognitive essential functions and technical standards
that are necessary for successful completion of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.