The purpose of the essential functions list is to allow prospective students who are considering a career to be informed of the physical, emotional, and psychological demands related to training and employment in that field of study. This list is provided to allow prospective students to make informed career choices by providing them with a summary of the physical abilities and personality traits that are generally required for the successful completion of a curriculum and result in employment in a field of study after graduation. For students to be successful in the Physical Therapist Assistant program, they must be able to perform the following essential functions.
Students must possess sufficient strength, coordination, mobility, and manual dexterity to perform the following procedures accurately, safely, and efficiently:
- Transport, move, lift, or transfer patients in wheelchairs, beds, or treatment tables.
- Assist with gait training activities.
- Move, reach, manipulate, and operate equipment and controls.
- Access supply and storage areas.
- Maneuver in elevators, stairwells, and confined spaces within treatment areas.
- Move between treatment areas or from one physical location to another.
- Spend prolonged periods of time walking, standing, sitting, and bending, as well as crawling, reaching, pushing, and pulling.
Students must be able to demonstrate the following abilities:
- Ability to observe patients, confirm patient's identity, perform physical therapy procedures, and assess change in patient status.
- Ability to gather information from medical records, request forms, computer screens, instrument panels, product information guidelines, and expiration dates.
- Ability to receive information from instrument signals and alarms, emergency signals, telephone conversations, and voices while in protective garb.
- Ability to detect the presence of fire, gas, or toxic reagents for maintaining clinical and patient safety.
Student must possess the following skills:
- Critical thinking and problem solving skills to assess patient reactions and responses to treatment, schedule patients efficiently, and perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Interpersonal skills sufficient to interact appropriately with patients, families, and coworkers from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
- Communication skills, both verbal and written, in order to explain physical therapy procedures, answer questions from patients and coworkers, maintain accurate logs, and document in medical records.
- Initiative to work independently yet recognize self-limitations.
- Accept guidance and supervision from superiors.
- Handle stressful situations related to dealing with patient response to pain, injury, or death and dying.