Essential Functions

Essential Skills / Technical Standards

The University of Missouri Physical Therapy Program is committed to preparing students to serve as Doctors of Physical Therapy in an autonomous and open access environment of health care within the limitations of licensure regulations. We hope students are prepared to provide safe, efficient and effective services to the community they serve.

In order to successfully complete the doctorate program, students must possess certain essential skills including observation, communication, motor coordination, intellectual-conceptual integrative and quantitative abilities, clinical reasoning and decision making, and professional behaviors.

In addition, students must be able to perform the essential physical functions involved in the practice of physical therapy such as repetitive motion, intermittent lifting of heavy objects, occasional squatting, bending, and twisting.

Physical Therapists are the responsible professional for services provided by the therapist or under the direction of the therapist and must be able to adequately supervise the provision of physical therapy services.

Reasonable accommodation is offered to students upon request in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and University of Missouri policy for students with disabilities. Applicants to the DPT program do not need to disclose information about reasonable accommodation needs prior to an admission decision.

An offer for admission can be withdrawn and a student in the DPT program may be withdrawn if it becomes apparent that the applicant/student is unable to perform the essential skills/ technical functions required to complete the program with or without reasonable accommodation.

The following essential skills/technical standards represent a minimum standard to ensure successful completion of the degree requirements and for future success in the provision of physical therapy services.

1. Sensory/Observation

The applicant/student must be able to accurately observe and experience close at hand and at a distance so as to understand and interpret a defined level of information from that observation and experience.

  • Cadaver dissection
  • Images presented through use of technology- graphic images, overheads, slides, films, videos. DVD, and internet
  • Written documentation – hand written, electronic form, electronic media lectures
  • Patients in clinical and non-clinical settings so as to perform visual and tactile examination and interventions and accurately assess substitution, compensation patterns, abnormal respon ses to exercise or activity, etc.

2. Communication

The applicant/student must be able to communicate accurately and effectively with patients, caregivers, physicians, other health professionals, clinical facility staff, faculty and staff, peers, and the community in general.

  • Process and comprehend all written communication in English in any form or media
  • Process and comprehend all verbal communication in English in any form or media
  • Process all non-verbal communication in any form or media
  • Respond appropriately verbally and in writing in English to all communications including in situations of emergency and stress
  • Participate in group and individual discussions, present oral and written reports and provide constructive feedback in English

3. Motor Coordination

The applicant/student must be able to demonstrate sufficient gross and fine motor movement and control to complete general and emergency care to patients.

  • Perform a variety of physical movements such as bending, lifting, kneeling, stooping, pushing, pulling, prolonged standing and walking
  • Manipulative abilities with hands including coordinated eye-hand activities

4. Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities

The applicant/student must be able to problem solve and critically analyze effectively and efficiently while providing general and emergency care to patients in at least the following tasks:

  • Measuring, calculating, reasoning, analyzing, integrating, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources in a timely manner
  • Designing appropriate solutions for problems encountered in physical therapy practice
  • Comprehending three dimensional relationships
  • Understanding spatial relationships
  • Searching, recording, storing, inputting and retrieving data from computers

5. Professional Behaviors

  • Demonstrate ethical and legal behavior at all times
  • Provide and accept/respond to constructive feedback
  • Deal effectively with stress
  • Demonstrate empathy, compassion, integrity, honesty, culturally sensitive care and concern for others, good interpersonal skills, interest and motivation
  • Ability to self-assess, reflect and problem solve in response to a need for continued learning and professional development

Drug Testing and Criminal Background Check Requirement

Due to current healthcare regulations and University policy, students that test positive for illegal drugs or appear on a formal Government Sanction List (e.g. Employee Disqualification List, Missouri Division of Family Services, Office of Inspector General Exclusion) will not be eligible to complete the requirements for graduation from our program. Drug screening and criminal background checks are required and must be on file with the PT department during the fall semester of the first professional year.

This document was developed through revision and modification of Langston University Essential Skills & Technical Standards for Admission, Promotion & Graduation (ANC/Rev. 01/31/05) with their permission.