The clinical education component of the University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program offers students an exciting opportunity to engage in collaborative, experiential learning in a variety of physical therapy settings.
First-Year Clerkship (PT 6213, PT 6214)
Each student will complete a three-hour/week clinical clerkship at two long-term care sites during the fall and spring semester of the first year. This learning experience is under the direct supervision of experienced University of Minnesota associated faculty and provides students with the opportunity to combine theoretical and practical skills through mentored experiences with geriatric patients, clinical presentations/discussions entitled "Patient of the Week," and assignments related to their concurrent, didactic coursework.
Second-Year Clerkship (PT 6215, PT 6216)
The purpose of the fall semester second-year clerkship experience is designed to familiarize the student with evaluation and implementation of physical therapy in the orthopedic outpatient setting. During this clerkship, pairs of students are assigned to a clinical instructor in an outpatient orthopedic clinic in the community. Students participate in patient evaluations and treatments, and complete assignments in conjunction with the didactic coursework provided concurrently in PT 6283/6284 Musculoskeletal I and II. The second objective of the second-year fall semester clerkship is to familiarize the student with the role of a physical therapist as a promoter of health and wellness, as well as exposing student to health disparities in urban, rural and global health settings. Students work under the guidance of a community liaison on group service-learning projects designed to assist an underserved community.
During the spring semester the second-year clerkship is designed to familiarize the student with the role of the physical therapist in a neuro-rehabilitation setting. Student pairs are assigned to one clinical instructor at a local hospital or rehabilitation center where they will observe, perform evaluations and practice treatment skills learned in their concurrent Neuro-rehabilitation I coursework (PT 6287). The remaining objectives of the second-year spring semester clerkship is to expose DPT students to the legislative issues affecting the profession of Physical Therapy through participation in the MN APTA Legislative Day and to also familiarize DPT students with adjustment issues in relation to disability.
Third-Year Full-Time Internships (PT 6295, PT 6296, PT 6297, PT 6298)
During the third and final year, DPT students must successfully complete four, full-time clinical internships totaling 40 weeks.. Within the context of the full-time Clinical Internships, students must gain experience (at least 50 percent of caseload) in the following areas: Acute Care, Orthopedic Outpatient, and Neuro-rehabilitation. During full-time Clinical Internships, students are supervised by a designated Clinical Instructor (CI) and participate in direct patient care, administration, management and supervision, education and consultation. Currently, the program maintains over 350 active contracts with clinical sites.
In response to an increased interest in international opportunities for Doctor of Physical Therapy students and the University of Minnesota's commitment to better prepare individuals to participate in global health initiatives, the Program in Physical Therapy has developed three International Internships that allow for diverse experiences in global health care and physical therapy. International Internships are available only during the last spring semester of the third year.
Current international internship opportunities exist in the following locations:
- Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation Tanzania. This is an 11-week experience located in a pediatric rehabilitation facility in Dar el Saalam, Tanzania.
- Fundación Hermano Miguel and Cayambe Rural clinic. This is an 11-week experience split between two outpatient physical therapy clinics in urban Quito and rural Caymbe, Ecuador. Students must be fluent in Spanish to be considered for this experience.
- Niger, Africa. This 3-week experience begins with teaching rehabilitation topics in conjunction with University of Minnesota PT faculty at Moumouni Universite' Medical School in Niamey, Niger. The remaining two weeks, the students work at either a pediatric clinic located in Niamey or a missionary bush hospital specializing in diseases of the skin under the supervision of University of Minnesota DPT core or associated faculty.