New York Medical College

School of Health Sciences and Practice

Doctor Of Physical Therapy DPT Curriculum

 

Physical Therapy DPT Curriculum - 120 credits

 

SUMMER 1

12

Human Anatomy and Histology

6

Kinesiology

3

Professional Practice I: Introduction to Professionalism

3

FALL 1

14

Neuroscience

4

Human Physiology

3

Introduction to Clinical Science in Physical Therapy

4

Exercise Science

3

SPRING 1

16

Clinical Science in PT I: Acute Medical and Orthopedic Conditions

10

Introduction to Biostatistics

3

Clinical Medicine for Physical Therapists

3

SUMMER 2

10

Clinical Education I

7

Clinical Applications of Research

3

FALL 2

16

Clinical Science in PT II: Neurologic Conditions and Conditions of the Spine

10

Health Care in the United States

3

Elective

3

SPRING 2

7

Clinical Education II

7

SUMMER 3

14

Clinical Science in PT III: Pediatric Conditions

5

Professional Practice ll: Practice Management

3

Biomechanical Analysis of Gait

3

Seminar in Decision-Making for Complex Patients                 

3

FALL 3

16

PT in Preventive Healthcare & Wellness

3

Professional Practice lll

3

Clinical Education lII

8

Public Health and Physical Therapy

2

SPRING 3

15

Clinical Education lV

8

Doctoral Project

4

Advanced Clinical Seminar.

3

Comprehensive Written Examination

 

TOTAL CURRICULUM

120

 

Foundational Courses

Foundational sciences serve as the major knowledge base for the clinical practice of physical therapy. Foundational sciences in physical therapy include: Anatomy, Histology, Physiology, Applied Physiology, Pathophysiology, Behavioral Sciences, Biomechanics and Kinesiology, Neuroscience, Pathology and Pharmacology. At New York Medical College the faculty who teach these sciences are experts in their field. Faculty from the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences are the primary faculty in Human Anatomy & Histology, Physiology, Neuroscience, Clinical Medicine and Pharmacology. Faculty from the Program in Physical Therapy assist in the teaching of these courses and also help students to apply these sciences to clinical practice in courses that include Kinesiology, Exercise Science, Introduction to Clinical Science, and Clinical Science in Physical Therapy.

The program philosophy of providing students an integrated education in foundational sciences, clinical sciences, and professional development is readily apparent from the structure of the curriculum. In the first semester students take Human Anatomy & Histology, which includes complete cadaver dissection in groups of 4-5 students. Kinesiology, the study of movement, is taught simultaneously with the anatomy course. As a part of Kinesiology, students work within groups to execute and formally present a multi-level analysis of a functional task that patients typically perform in a clinical setting. Thus, from the very first semester students are applying material from the foundational sciences directly to clinical practice. The parallel processing of foundational and clinical science course work provides a direct link between these two areas of study.

The second semester extends the coursework in foundational sciences to Human Physiology, Neuroscience, and Clinical Medicine for Physical Therapists. A laboratory sub-component of Neuroscience titled Neurological Examination and Evaluation provides students a direct means of applying didactic material directly to clinical practice. Through a series of weekly laboratory sessions and sessions with actual patients, students deepen their understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system. Students read and discuss how specific motor and sensory mechanisms operate in healthy individuals and how different types of pathology disrupt the nervous system. Clinical Medicine for Physical Therapists ensures that students have a knowledge base in medical management sufficient for making differential diagnoses, for screening patients, and making referrals to other health team members as they prepare to practice in a health care environment that includes direct access to patients.

Problem Based Learning

In the first two semesters of the program (Summer I and Fall I), students take courses taught entirely in conventional lecture/laboratory formats.  These two semesters have a primary focus of providing students a strong foundation in basic and medical sciences, foundational skills in muscle testing, range of motion and mobility assessment, and a background in educational theory and the profession of physical therapy.  Beginning in the third semester of the program (Spring I), problem-based learning methodology is formally implemented.  This and the remaining semesters of the program include conventional and problem-based learning course work, full-time clinical education experiences, and the completion of a doctoral thesis.

Problem-based learning methodology is used primarily within two 15-week and two 6-week problem-based units (Spring I, Fall II, Summer III), utilizing three pedagogical elements.  The first of these is small group tutorial sessions, the second is laboratory sessions, and the third is specialized lectures.  In the small group tutorials, students work within groups that include a single faculty tutor whose role is primarily that of facilitator.  The tutorial groups meet two times per week for two and one-half hours each time.  Tutorial groups work through case studies that have been carefully crafted to address clinical problems designed to assist students in meeting educational objectives.  These objectives address basic and clinical sciences, psychosocial issues, professional practice considerations, and concepts of scientific inquiry.  Clinical problems are selected and developed that provide exposure to common clinical conditions and physical therapy interventions.  Groups work through each case study to integrate prior knowledge and identify areas for further study.  The group facilitators assist the students in identifying pertinent objectives and learning outcomes.

The second element of the triad, laboratory sessions, occurs four times each week in three-hour sessions. Within these laboratory sessions, students test their ideas about how to solve patient problems, and learn skills in patient screening, diagnosis, goal planning, intervention, referral to other professionals, and outcome assessment. The laboratories are designed to complement the case studies being discussed in the tutorial sessions each week and to bring in additional cases. Thus, discussions of patient problems and the acquisition of skills in physical therapy evaluation and intervention occur simultaneously.

Weekly specialized lectures serve as the third component of the problem-based learning curriculum. Lectures and demonstrations are provided by physical therapists, physicians, and other health professionals who work with patients similar to those described in the tutorial case studies. These lectures enhance students’ awareness in the science and art of physical therapy, and the integration of these areas in client management.  The combination of tutorial sessions, laboratories, and lectures promotes the integration of research, study, discussion, and practice in the clinical skills of physical therapy.

Problem-based learning promotes the integration of foundational and clinical science, scientific inquiry, and clinical reasoning. The use of this triad of problem-based learning elements provides a context for learning that makes it easier for students to retain the material and to transfer knowledge and skills to the clinical setting.  The opportunity provided in small group tutorial settings to verbalize and debate concepts leads to greater depth of understanding and improved retention than a lecture format alone.  The group skills developed and the learning issues addressed provide students with a basis for evolving into lifelong learners with a scientific approach to clinical practice.

Evidence-Based Practice

Because physical therapy is a clinical science, evidence for the validity of clinical intervention approaches can be complex and elusive.  In the Department of Physical Therapy at NYMC, students are taught to base their clinical decision-making on a system of evidence-based practice that reflects sound scientific principles, formal investigations of the effectiveness of clinical intervention strategies, and on contemporary patterns of best practice that may have yet to be formally tested.  An integral goal of the program is for students to become skilled in the critical analysis of the professional practice of physical therapy.

A very important benefit of the problem-based learning model used at New York Medical College is that students learn from their earliest clinical coursework to base their intervention strategies on evidence of best practice. Physical therapy is a clinical science that utilizes treatment approaches that are based on sound scientific principles and investigations of clinical effectiveness. In the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at NYMC, students learn how to establish a physical therapy diagnosis, set goals, develop a treatment plan, and modify treatments as the patient progresses. The learning of these skills is not delayed until clinical affiliations, but is explicitly integrated into the academic curriculum. Furthermore, because scientific investigation is taught as an integral part of the professional practice of physical therapy, students learn clinical reasoning based on a critical analysis of scientific and clinical literature.

Clinical Education

Clinical education allows each student to integrate academic knowledge, refine clinical skills, and continue developing his/her professional self. Students expand their clinical and professional skills by evaluating and treating patients in diverse clinical settings while receiving supervision and feedback from practicing physical therapists. These clinical education experiences require students to collaborate closely with their clinical instructors in an active learning process.

The goals of the clinical education program at NYMC include: to prepare graduates who implement evidence-based practice across a variety of settings; to prepare graduates with a good understanding of regulatory and market forces affecting the provision of physical therapy care; and to prepare graduates who adapt successfully to changes in the health care environment.

The clinical education component of the physical therapy program consists of four full-time affiliation experiences, each eight to twelve weeks in length, for a total of at least thirty-six weeks. The clinical education experiences are integrated into the second and third years of the program.

To provide these clinical education experiences, the Department of Physical Therapy at NYMC partners with a wide variety of clinical institutions. While most of our affiliating institutions are located in the tri-state area, additional opportunities are available throughout the United States. Current clinical sites include acute-care hospitals, outpatient clinics, sports medicine clinics, rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, other long-term-care institutions, and various types of pediatric settings. Available also are specialty affiliations at burn centers, home health care agencies, aquatic centers, in the performing arts, and at an Indian reservation.

Following nine months of clinical practice under the supervision of licensed physical therapists, graduates of our program are fully prepared to meet the practice challenges of the current and future health care environments.

Page updated: May 31, 2013