Health and Technical Standards

All candidates must meet health and technical standards to gain admission and participate in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Because the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree signifies that an individual is prepared to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination and is prepared for entry into the profession of physical therapy, it follows that the graduates must possess the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and be able to provide a wide spectrum of patient care.

A candidate for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree must have abilities in the following areas: observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative, quantitative, behavioral, and social. Reasonable accommodations will be made as required by law; however, the candidate must be able to meet all technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation. The use of a trained intermediary means that a candidate’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation and is not a permissible accommodation. The following standards must be met by all students admitted to the DPT program.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 1991 American with Disabilities Act are federal anti-discrimination statues designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same educational opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. Both regulations require educational institutions to consider whether reasonable accommodation could remove barriers.

The process of UNTHSC responding to the specific needs of a student with a disability is as follows:

  1. The process of identifying whether, and to what extent, a reasonable accommodation is required should be flexible and involve both the health science center and the individual with a disability. For this reason, the Equal Opportunity Office is responsible for coordinating the process of identifying reasonable accommodations and the determination made on a case-by-case basis.
    1. The student must inform the Equal Opportunity Officer of the presence of a disability and request accommodations.
    2. The student must provide official documentation including a diagnosis rendering the student disabled from an individual certified and/or licensed to make such a diagnosis.

Observation
The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in basic and applied sciences including, but not limited to, human anatomy and physiology, neuroscience, as well as in didactic courses in physical therapy theory and practice for normal and pathologic states. The candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the use of common sense, as well as the functional use of the senses of vision, audition, olfaction, and palpation.

Communication
The candidate must be able to elicit information from patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive and accurately report nonverbal communications. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients/clients and their families. Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with all members of the health care team in both immediate and recorded modes.

Sensorimotor
The candidate should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients/clients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, manual positioning of body segments and other evaluative procedures. The candidate should be able to do basic screening and examination (physiological measures such as HR and respiration), diagnostic procedures (palpation, manual muscle testing, goniometry, sensory evaluation, gait analysis, balance assessment), and evaluate EKGs and X-rays. The candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physical therapists are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and application of pressure to stop bleeding. Additionally, candidates must be able to perform debridement of wounds and other physical assessment maneuvers, where such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Conceptual-Integrative and Quantitative Analysis
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, synthesis, and retention of complex information. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapist practitioners, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral/Social Attitudes
The candidate must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the evaluation, diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. The candidate must be able to tolerate physically-taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admission and education processes.

This page last updated 20th Mar 2013