Clinical Education

physical therapist works with woman on treadmill

Clinical education provides students the clinical experiences essential for skill and knowledge acquisition in physical therapy. The department currently maintains more than 300 clinical sites in a variety of settings throughout the United States, with some opportunities in foreign countries. Beginning in the fall semester of the first year and extending through the first two years of the curriculum, students complete integrated clinical experiences at local partnering facilities. These integrated clinical experiences offer exposure to a variety of patient populations across multiple practice settings. During the final academic year, students complete 36 weeks of full-time clinical internships with two required experiences, one in an inpatient and one in an outpatient setting.

The clinical education program is designed to prepare the graduate for entry-level generalist practice. While some internships may offer specialized experiences that extend beyond entry level, broad exposure to geographically representative practice throughout the lifespan is the priority in internship assignments.

Information for Students
Clinical education is an essential part of the physical therapist education program. In addition to providing an opportunity to practice and apply the concepts and skills learned in the classroom in real-world patient care settings, clinical education allows students to expand their didactic knowledge, identify professional role models, and develop critical communication, interpersonal skills, work habits, and clinical competencies. Participation in a wide variety of experiences fosters the development of a well-rounded, versatile physical therapist and allows the student to assess their future career interests, goals, and needs. Students are responsible for their own transportation and living arrangements related to clinical internships unless otherwise supported by the clinical facility.

Throughout the entirety of the program, students are required to maintain up-to-date immunization records through Student Health Services. This includes verification of TB status, Hepatitis B immunity, and influenza vaccination. Students are also required to complete a criminal background check and pass a drug screen with reports provided to the Office of Student Affairs. The background check and screening includes GSA Excluded Parties Testing System, Department of Health and Senior Services Employee Disqualification List, and U.S. Department of Human and Health Services List of Excluded Individuals/Entities. Students are responsible for the fees incurred for background checks and drug screening.

Some clinical facilities require additional documentation the costs of which are the responsibility of the student. Students are encouraged to ask about any site-specific testing or screening and to obtain information in advance to avoid consuming anything that could cause a adverse result on a drug test. Students will also be required to keep current AHA CPR certification at their own expense.

During integrated clinical experiences, students may be required to travel to sites within the Kansas City metropolitan area. For final internships, students are expected to travel outside the metropolitan area in order to obtain experience in settings that are often not available locally. As such, students should anticipate additional costs for living expenses (housing, meals, etc.) and/or transportation during the final year of the curriculum. Students are required to maintain a reliable means of transportation, and are responsible for making transportation and housing arrangements. Any expenses related to clinical education are the responsibility of the student. Students should anticipate budgeting for additional costs related to clinical education.

Information for Clinical Facilities
We continue to pursue contracts with new facilities for our entry-level DPT program that are committed to offering quality experiences in an ongoing basis. Students are most inclined to travel for clinical internships when free or inexpensive housing is available.

To obtain additional information about clinical education partnerships with KU, please contact Yvonne Colgrove, PT, PhD, director of clinical education for KU's Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Clinical Faculty Benefits
Clinical education faculty members are available to provide seminars and in-services on clinical education at affiliated sites. Academic faculty members are available to consult with clinical faculty on clinical research, clinical education, or clinical projects. Clinical faculty members are invited to continuing education courses sponsored by KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Limited assistance may be available for clinical faculty to attend the APTA-sponsored Clinical Instructor Credentialing course.

Last modified: Oct 19, 2015