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Physical Therapy Program

Course Descriptions - BS in Health Sciences

The BS/DPT curriculum in the physical therapy program at SUNY Downstate consists of 135.5 credits of physical therapy professional courses. This includes 43 credits at the undergraduate level, and 92.5 credits at the graduate level.

The following are descriptions of the Undergraduate Physical Therapy professional courses.

PHTH 3300 Professional Development I

This course covers the psychosocial dynamics and manifestations of disability, issues related to professionalism, ethics, patients' rights and physical therapy practice. The following topics will be explored: history and development of the profession, legal and ethical aspects of physical therapy practice, patient/client management model, preferred practice patterns, the physical therapy interview, professional and patient care responsibilities, the Internet, interpersonal communication, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and issues surrounding people with disabilities. Students have two off-campus assignments: in the first assignment they will interview a patient to ascertain their medical history. In the second assignment they will measure accessibility of a public facility in New York City and compare their findings with ADA guidelines.

Lecture/discussion/clinical experience. Summer. 2.0 credits

PHTH 3301 Physical Therapy Examination I

This laboratory course is taught concurrently with Kinesiology, and is designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate Kinesiology's theoretical concepts with "hands on" practical application. This course covers specific musculoskeletal and neuromuscular tests and measures including goniometry, manual muscle testing, sensory testing, deep tendon reflex testing, posture evaluation, gait analysis, and select musculoskeletal special tests. Issues of reliability, validity, sensitivity and specificity will be addressed with all examination techniques. Students will explore the reliability and validity of the examination techniques relative to the clinical decision-making process, through review of current scientific literature.

Laboratory. Fall. 1.0 credit

PHTH 3302 Patient/Client Management I

This course integrates the use of complementary and alternative therapies into physical therapy practice. Through lecture and discussion, students investigate best evidence for complementary and alternative therapies and the role of the physical therapist in administering and supervising hands-on interventions. Laboratory experiences focus on the process of self-discovery in learning about the influence of one's own posture and body mechanics on perceived touch and response to hand-on intervention. Students learn to design goals and plans of care and select and administer hands-on therapies based upon current evidence, the needs of the individual and the results of patient/client examination and evaluation. Conceptual frameworks for clinical decision-making models are discussed along with application of the Nagi Model of Disablement with regard to complementary and alternative therapies.

Lecture/laboratory/discussion. Fall. 2.5 credits

PHTH 3402 Patient/Client Management II

In this course, students discuss, identify, select, and implement basic patient care strategies and techniques related to range of motion, transfers, ambulation with assistive devices, strength, endurance, plyometric and flexibility training, basic care skills in acute care settings and use of therapeutic exercise equipment. Students critically evaluate and practice ways to maximize the relationship between the patient/client and therapist, educate others and assure efficient posture and body mechanics/ ergonomics of both parties. Students apply the patient/client management model, and the Nagi Model of Disablement as part of clinical decision-making in this basic skills course. This course provides a foundation for the learning of therapeutic exercise, which will be further integrated in the musculoskeletal physical therapy courses. The learning format of this class is lecture, laboratory, clinical observation, role-playing, case-based learning, and discussion.

Lecture/laboratory/discussion. Fall. 3.0 credits

PHTH 3200 Pathology

Basic disease processes and functional impairments are studied in correlation with their anatomical substrates; major emphasis is on the cardiovascular/pulmonary, neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems. This is a foundational science course, which builds upon previous study of anatomy and physiology, and concurrent knowledge being learned in the Medical Sciences course. Pathology provides an important background for study of the clinical sciences and physical therapy professional courses. Students learn through interactive lecture, textbook readings, and visits to University Hospital's morgue to observe autopsies.

Lecture/laboratory. Spring. 3.0 credits

PHTH 3401 Physical Therapy Examination II

The knowledge and skills necessary for the examination and evaluation of patients leading to a physical therapy diagnosis will be presented and practiced. Theory and techniques for measuring physical and physiological entities such as vital signs, strength, muscle tone, joint range of motion, respiratory capacity, circulatory status, pain, balance, posture, gait, and coordination are included. Emphasis is placed on precision of measurement, elimination of errors in testing, their validity and reliability, and accurate documentation. Students will learn to critically review outcome measures used by physical therapists with a focus on reliability, validity, specificity and sensitivity of the test. The educational experiences in this course will be designed to progress from normal to pathological across the spectra of age, gender, and race. The relevance and application of functional outcome research in clinical practice will be discussed.

Lecture/laboratory/discussion. Spring 1.0 credit

PHTH 3206 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I

This course will develop the student's clinical decision-making skills and ability to appropriately screen, examine, evaluate, develop and implement physical therapy plans of care for people who have musculoskeletal dysfunctions. In this lecture/laboratory course, the student will critically review the theory and practice of musculoskeletal physical therapy with emphasis on methods of examination, evaluation, and manual therapy interventions for the extremities. Therapeutic exercise will also be integrated throughout the course.

Lecture/laboratory. Spring. 3.0 credits

PHTH 3207 Principles of Education in Physical Therapy

This course covers the study and application of teaching techniques as applied to the practice of physical therapy. There will be opportunities to design educational programs for patients/clients, caregivers, community groups, health professionals, and other target audiences. Students will further develop their ability to teach psychomotor skills and to discuss issues of patient performance and adherence to physical therapy programs. Evaluation of learning styles, preactive teaching grids and effectiveness of teaching will be addressed. Clinical education of the physical therapy student will be addressed including preparation for their future role as a clinical instructor.

Discussion/laboratory. Spring. 2.0 credits.

PHYS 3212 Neurophysiology of Motor Control

This course expands upon the neurophysiology presented in the Principles of Human Physiology and Biochemistry course and relates theories of sensorimotor control to animal and human research. Structure and function of the nervous system are elucidated to explain sensorimotor control at progressively finer levels of the nervous system that includes function at the neural junction and the cell membrane level. Students are challenged to move beyond reductionist explanations for sensorimotor control to understand the integrated expression of the sensorimotor areas and nuclei. The course also focuses on integrating experimental research with clinical research with patients with neuromuscular diseases. In recent years, technical advances, both non-invasive and invasive, have transformed the ability to investigate the mechanisms operating in human sensorimotor control. Where appropriate, these will be discussed in lecture, or demonstrated with human subjects during lectures.

Lecture/discussion. Spring. 1.5 credits