Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT): Clinical Education


DPT Program

The DPT program has integrated community-engaged learning throughout the program through the developing PT Student Clinic. This continuous engagement with our community culminates in two 15-week immersion experiences in local, regional and national clinics.

We offer experiences in:

  • private practice
  • home health
  • hospital-based clinics
  • school systems
  • community centers
  • longterm rehabilitation agencies

 Approximate Dates of Clinical Education

During the third year of the program, students will participate in a full-time physical therapy practice setting.
  • DPT 960 (Clinical Internship I) during summer will run from approximately May to August.
  • DPT 961 (Clinical Internship II) during fall will run from approximately September to December.

 General Clinical Requirements

Students will need to demonstrate appropriate safety and progress with knowledge skills and abilities as determined by the core faculty to progress through each semester of the ICP sequence during the didactic portion of the program.  At the conclusion of the didactic portion of the program, core faculty will determine student readiness to progress to full-time clinical education. In addition to clinical readiness students will also be required to complete criminal and caregiver background checks, health assurances, liability coverage, and specified trainings in order to participate in clinical education.   
 
The full-time clinical education placements at UWSP are designed to provide experiences for each student that encompass the following key areas:
  • Management of patients/clients with diseases and conditions representative of those commonly seen in practice across the lifespan and the continuum of care
  • Practice in settings representative of those in which physical therapy is commonly practiced
  • Involvement in interprofessional practice
  • Direction and supervision of the physical therapist assistant and other physical therapy personnel
  • Rural care practice experiences  
Students will be required to complete one full-time clinical placement in an inpatient setting, and one full-time clinical experience in an outpatient setting. Each clinical placement site will be identified prior to site selection as inpatient or outpatient based on the patient characteristics and practice setting. A list of placement sites will be provided 6-9 months prior to each full-time clinical experience, and students will have the opportunity to list preferred placement locations.  Students should note the following:
  • All students will be required to complete at least one of the full-time clinical experiences in what the UWSP Physical Therapy program defines as serving a rural population
  • Effort will be made to honor preferences when possible, however the final assignment for placements is the responsibility of the DCE, who will analyze the clinical location, personality of the CI and student, type of experience, and patient population when making a decision.
  • Students may need to travel outside of the Stevens Point area (see section on Travel and Transportation) for one or both of their full-time clinical experiences, and will be responsible for any costs associated with travel and housing etc. The DCE will work with individual students to make reasonable accommodations, but the quality of the clinical education experience will remain the priority
  • Students interested in setting up a new clinical education experience are encouraged to meet with the DCE to discuss well in advance of the desired placement (at least 12 months). Following the conversation with the DCE students can complete the Clinical Site Request Form and submit it to the DCE for consideration. The DCE will make a decision to pursue an affiliation agreement based on: the quality of the clinic site, the clinic site fit with the program curriculum, and whether or not the proposed clinic site is interested in establishing a relationship. EXPRESSING INTEREST IN ESTABLISHING A NEW CLINIC SITE AGREEMENT DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SITE WILL BE ADDED AND STUDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PLAN FOR SUITABLE ALTERNATIVES.

 Clinical Assurances Requirements

In May 2011, the Joint Commission announced new standards for onboarding students, volunteers and contractors for all healthcare systems. These placements require the above groups to attain the same health and background clearances as their paid employees. These onboarding processes include vaccination screenings, criminal background checks, orientation sessions, validation of educational level and licensure, acquiring health insurance and professional liability insurance. All JCAHO health systems follow these requirements and non-Joint Commission approved organizations may follow some variation of the above requirements (jointcommission.org).   

At UWSP, we must ensure that School of Health Sciences and Wellness students having contact with patients/clients or community persons as a part of an educational activity will not transmit disease, will have adequate protections in case of an accident or injury, and provide the safest care possible for other individuals. Therefore, UWSP has developed procedures to ensure that these goals are met. The purpose of these student learner onboarding requirements is to uphold best practices (JCAHO) and state and other accrediting body requirements surrounding individuals in any healthcare setting-including community-based settings.

To ensure the safety of students participating in clinical education and the clients they will be seeing, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will require the following assurances of all students (see exemptions section below) prior to entering the program and maintain those assurances throughout the program:

  1. Criminal Background Check
    • Complete prescribed State and Federal Criminal Background Checks (Viewpoint Screening)
    • Students with a concern related to Criminal Background and/or Caregiver history will be encouraged to seek insight from the Wisconsin Physical Therapist Examining Board with regard to licensing eligibility.
  2. Health and Immunizations
    • Physical exam
    • A negative tuberculosis (TB, or PPD) skin test from within the past year; if the skin test is positive, then a negative chest x-ray is required.
    • Annual updates are the minimum requirement, and some clinical sites may require a two-step TB test, and/or a negative TB test within the past 3-6 months.
    • Immunizations (OR titers, which document immunity) for: 
      • Varicella, 2 vaccinations (chicken pox)
      • Measles (2 MMR vaccinations)
      • Mumps (2 MMR vaccinations)
      • Rubella (2 MMR vaccinations)
    • Hepatitis B immunization series (3 immunizations) and titer (proof of immunity)
    • A Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis/whooping cough) booster from within the past 5 years.
  3. Training and Certifications
    • Annual criminal and caregiver background checks
    • HIPAA training (annual training required) if applicable
    • CPR (Basic Life Support or BLS) certification
    • Bloodborne pathogen training/universal precautions training (annual training required) if applicable
    • Child abuse recognition training 
  4. Additional Requirements Based Placement Location
    • Influenza vaccine
    • COVID-19 vaccine (when applicable)
    • Drug screening test  
Additional Requirements Based on Location:
Please remember, placement sites have the authority to establish any specific requirements for student participation at their site. Although these are not UWSP policies, they are requirements specific to the site. Students are required to comply with all UWSP and placement site requirements in order to participate. Even if you are an employee at the site, it is mandatory that you meet all university and placement site requirements.  

Evidence of Immunization & Compliance Information:
Students are responsible for uploading appropriate documents to Viewpoint, the assurances tracking database. Please utilize Canvas resources for detailed instructions and short tutorial videos on accessing Viewpoint. Please request assistance if you are having difficulty.   

Exemptions:
If a student participant believes they qualify for an exemption to any of these requirements, please consult the program director. Please note the program is not responsible for delayed clinical placement or graduation due to a qualifying exemption.  Based on the specific circumstances, a qualifying exemption may make clinical placement difficult or impossible and could prevent successful completion of the program.  

Resources for Maintaining Assurances:

 Health Insurance Requirements

Continuous health insurance throughout the program; this is required by many off-campus sites. Depending on the status of health insurance legislation at the federal level, it could potentially be more difficult to obtain health insurance during the later years of your program if you have not been continuously covered. Therefore, it is required that you maintain continuous health insurance coverage throughout your health program. If you are uninsured, please visit the insurance exchanges at www.healthcare.gov to determine your eligibility.

 Professional Liability Requirements

Professional liability insurance with minimum coverage of $1,000,000 per occurrence/$3,000,000 aggregate.

As an APTA member, you have access to special rates from GEICO and HPSO. Please visit APTA Membership Benefits and Discounts to learn more! Professional Liability Insurance is also available directly through vendors. Visit any of the following sites to get a quote and apply online:

 Request for New Clinical Site

Students interested in setting up a new clinical education experience are encouraged to meet with the DCE to discuss well in advance of the desired placement (at least 12 months). Following the conversation with the DCE students can complete the Clinical Site Request Form and submit it to the DCE for consideration. The DCE will make a decision to pursue an affiliation agreement based on: the quality of the clinic site, the clinic site fit with the program curriculum, and whether or not the proposed clinic site is interested in establishing a relationship. EXPRESSING INTEREST IN ESTABLISHING A NEW CLINIC SITE AGREEMENT DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SITE WILL BE ADDED AND STUDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PLAN FOR SUITABLE ALTERNATIVES.  

 Travel Information

Students are responsible for travel to placement sites. Although some sites are within an hour of the Stevens Point area, other locations will involve commuting an hour or more (one way) from Stevens Point. Students are responsible for providing their own reliable transportation to all assigned placement sites and any costs associated with that travel. Although effort will be made to find suitable placements, there is no guarantee that you will acquire a placement site close to your home residence.

The university is not responsible for incidents and accidents related to student travel. It is the student’s responsibility to attend all placement experiences, and in the event of transportation issues (car trouble, inclement weather, etc.) it is the student’s responsibility to make suitable arrangements with their Clinical Instructor (CI) (adjust hours, make-up time, etc.). If a suitable arrangement between the student and Clinical Instructor (CI) cannot be achieved the Director of Clinical Education (DCE) should be contacted.  
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