Physical therapists serve a dynamic and comprehensive role in healthcare, engaging in treatment, consultation, education and research.
Physical therapy is the application of human movement science to maintain or enhance activity levels and social participation. It is a health profession that includes evaluating, alleviating and preventing impairments, functional limitations, and disability from injuries, disease and other causes.
The program uses a problem-based learning (PBL) curricular model, which uniquely prepares students to become lifelong learners and expert clinicians through an integrated case-based approach to learning. The philosophy behind PBL is simple: the best way to learn a new concept is to experience it firsthand. At Clarkson, we introduce doctor of physical therapy students to a wide variety of clinical scenarios, some involving “paper patients,” and some with real clients. Textbook knowledge is important, but the goal of PBL is to stimulate the development of real-world problem-solving skills. Students are trained to ask three questions: “What do I know?” “What don’t I know?” and “How will I find the answer?”
Students in a PBL learning environment
- Know where to find answers by listening closely to the patient and by searching peer-reviewed journals for the latest and best information.
- Ask more and better questions. Their mental framework is higher-level and contextual and reflects better preparation. PBL students can easily frame questions to clarify clinical dilemmas.
- Develop lifelong learning skills that allow them to seek answers independently.
- Expect and integrate ongoing feedback to improve their professional skills.
- Practice evaluation and intervention strategies to experience what patients experience and develop competency under the capable supervision of physical therapists.
- See the patient in a broader context and consider the economic and cultural issues that influence intervention and care.