Department of Physical Therapy


Clinical Internship

PHYT 7332

Spring Semester            


Director of Clinical Education: Carolyn Padalino, PT, DPT, CEEAA

Office: Mapp 203-F

Office Phone: 423-425-4045  

FAX 423-425-2380


Time & Days of Internship

Students will be full-time in the clinical setting for 15 weeks. The schedule will be determined by the site.


Course Description

This clinical internship is the final course of the curriculum.  Students will work under the direct supervision of a physical therapist focusing on a particular patient/client population selected by the student.  The desired outcome is for the student to reach entry-level performance in patient/client management.


Course Credit Hours: 9 hours



No texts are required for this course, but use of previous physical therapy textbooks is expected.

Teaching Method & Learning Experiences

As students perform patient/client management in the clinical setting, on-site supervision will be provided by clinical instructors (CI) who are employees of the assigned sites.


Method of Evaluation

The assessment tool used in all Clinical Education courses is the APTA PT Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI): The scale includes six anchors ranging from beginning performance to beyond entry-level performance. The CI and student will complete midterm and final clinical assessments using the CPI.

Criteria for Grading

The result for the Clinical Internship will be judged satisfactory/in progress/no credit. For a grade of Satisfactory, the student must progress to entry level performance for the 18 criteria (anchor 4), achieve no “significant concerns” boxes checked on any of the criteria and written comments from the CI must reflect satisfactory performance. In addition, for successful completion of the course, the student must meet the following expectations while participating in this clinical education course:

  • Clinic Attendance: Attend all assigned days of the clinical experience.   Students are expected to work the clinic’s schedule, regardless of university closings. If the student is not able to attend the clinical experience for any reason, the student must notify the DCE and the clinical instructor or CCCE prior to 8:00 a.m. that day. If voice mail is utilized initially, it is the responsibility of the student to follow-up with the clinical instructor. Missed time may delay completion of degree requirements and could jeopardize the student’s continuation in the clinical experience.
  • Maintain communication with the DCE at all times during the clinical education experience.   The DCE is the course coordinator for all clinical education courses and will serve as advisor, facilitator, and monitor.  
  • Contact the Center Coordinator of Clinical Education (CCCE) prior to the beginning of the experience to confirm arrangements
  • Review the Clinical Center Information Form for the assigned site. These forms are found in the DCE’s office.
  • Provide evidence of health insurance coverage.
  • Meet all health and safety requirements of the clinical education assigned site. The sites require specific immunizations and/or health status screening prior to the beginning of a clinical education experience. These requirements differ. As an example, some sites require TB tests to be completed a month prior to the experience, while other sites will accept tests completed several months earlier than the start date of the assignment. Review the Medical Information section of the assigned site’s Clinical Center Information Form. It is the responsibility of the student to identify the requirements and provide evidence of completion to the facility and/or educational program. Failure to meet this requirement will result in a delayed beginning of the experience. This may jeopardize timely completion of the course. Students are advised to maintain their own copies of all immunization records and physical exams, etc.
  • Maintain current CPR certification.    
  • Forward criminal background checks to sites if required by that site. Some states require all healthcare workers to provide this evidence. Check the Clinical Center Information Form to determine if your assigned site has this requirement. The University does not provide this information to the site. It is the student’s responsibility and students may bear the expense rather than the clinical site.
  • Schedule make-up time for any absences. If the site is unable to accommodate, the student must contact the DCE within one week of the absence to determine additional remedial work.
  • In the event the student will be late to clinic, the student must contact the DCE, CI, and CCCE prior to the assigned beginning time. Criteria #2 in the CPI includes assessment of punctuality. If tardiness is a significant concern, it will result in a failing grade for the clinical education course.
  • Complete a self-assessment at mid-term and final using the CPI. You must review your self-assessment with the Clinical Instructor and return the assessment to the DCE.
  • Complete all assignments made by CI willingly, thoroughly, promptly, and satisfactorily. The consequence of failing to meet this requirement may result in interruption of the clinical education course.
  • Take necessary supplies (goniometer, reflex hammer, measuring tape, stethoscope, and gait belt) and texts to clinical setting each day of the experience.
  • Adhere to all policies and procedures of the clinical site. Failure to do so may result in termination of the experience.
  • Complete an evaluation of the clinical site and your clinical instructor. Review the results with the CI before returning the evaluation to the DCE.

            The DCE will review the CPI and determine the grade to be awarded.  If a student is judged to be at risk and significant concerns are indicated, a grade of No Credit will be earned in the course.


Communication: To enhance student services, the University will use your UTC email address ( for communications. Please check your UTC email on a regular basis.  If you have problems with accessing your email account, contact the Help Desk at 423-425-4000. For more information, email the Student Help Desk at


Course Objectives: Clinical Performance Criteria

The student:

1)         Practices in a safe manner that minimizes risk to patient, self and others.

2)         Demonstrates professional behavior in all situations.

3)         Practices in a manner consistent with established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines.

4)         Communicates in ways that are congruent with situational needs.

5)         Adapts delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences, values, preferences, and needs.

6)         Participates in self-assessment to improve clinical and professional performance.

7)         Applies current knowledge, theory, clinical judgment, and the patient’s values and perspective in patient management.

8)                  Determines with each patient encounter the patient’s need for further examination or consultation by a physical therapist or referral to another health care professional.

9)                  Performs a physical therapy examination using evidence-based tests and measures.

10)              Evaluates data from the patient examination (history, systems review, and tests and measures) to make clinical judgments.

11)              Determines a diagnosis and prognosis that guides future patient management.

12)              Establishes a physical therapy plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, and evidence-based.

13)              Performs physical therapy interventions in a competent manner.

14)              Educates others (patients, caregivers, staff, students, other health care providers, business and industry representatives, school systems)) using relevant and effective teaching methods.

15)              Produces quality documentation in a timely manner to support the delivery of physical therapy services.

16)              Collects and analyzes data from selected outcome measures in a manner that supports accurate analysis of individual patient and group outcomes.

17)              Participates in the financial management (budgeting, billing and reimbursement, time space, equipment, marketing, public relations) of the physical therapy service consistent with regulatory, legal, and facility guidelines.

18)              Directs and supervises personnel to meet patient’s goals and expected outcomes according to legal standards and ethical guidelines.