The Clinical Education program challenges students to think critically, integrate concepts and techniques into clinical care, and to reflect on clinical experiences. The clinical education courses are an integral component of the curriculum where students develop their professional, communication, patient examination, diagnosis, and intervention skills.

Clinical Education Evaluation

The Program in Physical Therapy is committed to maintaining the high quality of our clinical education program. The clinical education team, in partnership with the Associate Director for Clinical Education, continually strive to enhance the clinical education program through the following strategies:

washington university physical therapy clinical education
Students complete clinical experiences in a variety of settings such as hospitals
  1. Collaboration between clinical and academic faculty in developing curriculum that fosters clinical reasoning, inquiry, and ethical decision making.
  2. Development of diverse clinical partnerships to ensure exposure to the depth and breadth of the physical therapy profession.
  3. Active student participation in preparing for, planning, and evaluating their clinical learning experiences.
  4. Routine assessment of the Clinical Education Team performance by clinical instructors and students.
  5. Periodic curriculum feedback from clinical partners to ensure alignment with the demands of the contemporary clinical environment.

Clinical Course Curriculum

Students participate in early integrated experiences and progress to four longer experiences throughout the curriculum. Each clinical experience is detailed below.

Early Integrated Clinical Experience (ECE)

ECE is part of Professional Issues & Skill Development I and II. Students are assigned to part-time clinical experiences in which they can practice patient management skills as they learn them during their first two semesters of curriculum. ECE is an integrated clinical experience where students take didactic information and skills within the current semester and apply those skills as they are learning them.

Students practice these skills in ECE I: Systems screening, visual appraisal, vital signs, sensation, reflexes, pain, range of motion/goniometry, body substance isolation, muscle strength, positioning, draping, bed mobility, gait, transfers, and management of various mobility equipment.

In ECE II, students refine the skills practiced in ECE I while beginning to practice the skills associated with the examination and evaluation components utilized to determine a movement system diagnosis – posture analysis, muscle stiffness/length, and functional mobility and gait analysis.

Full-Time Clinical Experience

The full-time clinical experiences allow students to practice professional behaviors and examination and intervention skills. CE III and CE IV are considered to be our clinical internships.

Learn more by downloading our Clinical Instructor Handbook!