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Essential Functions for the PTA Student

PTA  |  Application Requirements  |  Degree Plan  |  Program Cost  |  Outcomes

Successful participation in the PTA Program includes the ability to perform essential functions, which are necessary for the delivery of physical therapy services in a safe, ethical, legal manner. The essential functions are expected to be demonstrated, with or without reasonable accommodation, by students participating in the PTA program.

Upon reviewing the Essential Functions for the PTA Student, the candidate will complete the Acknowledgment of Essential Functions for the Physical Therapist Assistant Student form and indicate whether or not he/she can perform the essential functions. Prior to admission to the program, the student is responsible for providing written documentation of any disabilities, along with evidence of the need for accommodation.

Requests for accommodations should be made by the student to the Weatherford College Director of Special Populations. The college will then decide if reasonable accommodations can be made for that particular student.

Skill Type Essential Functions for the PTA Student

The student must possess sufficient motor capabilities in order to provide safe and effective physical therapy procedures, including:

  • Ability to assist and protect patients who are walking, exercising, or performing other activities.
  • Ability to adjust, move, position, and lift patients and equipment.
  • Ability to perform pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, reaching, standing, kneeling, sitting, walking, and crawling.
  • Ability to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Ability to manipulate equipment including adjustment of dials, gauges, small nuts/bolts, and various equipment settings
  • Sufficient endurance to move about a clinical setting steadily throughout an 8-hour work day .

The student must possess sufficient sensory abilities in order to competently assess and monitor patients, including:

Sufficient visual ability to:

  • Recognize and interpret facial expressions and body language.
  • Identify normal and abnormal postures and patterns of movement.
  • Read or set parameters on equipment.
  • Read small numbers / scales on goniometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, etc.
  • Discriminate differences and changes in skin and soft tissue.
  • Recognize a patient’s physiological status.
  • Assess a patient’s environment.

Sufficient auditory ability to:

  • Recognize and respond to verbal communication, auditory timers and equipment alarms in an environment with a moderate level of background noise.
  • Effectively use devices for measurement of blood pressure.

Sufficient tactile ability to:

  • Palpate pulses
  • Detect and assess changes or abnormalities in skin texture, skin temperature, muscle tone, and joint movement.
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The student must possess sufficient ability to communicate effectively and competently in the English language with others using appropriate verbal and written methods, including:

  • Ability to read at a level of competency that allows one to safely perform the essential functions of an assignment.
  • Ability to write in a legible manner. 
  • Ability to present information about physical therapy procedures and services to patients, family members, and other health care professionals.
  • Ability to recognize, interpret, and respond to nonverbal behavior of self and others.
  • Ability to interpret and communicate information regarding the status, safety, and rehabilitation of patients. 

The student must possess sufficient ability to exercise good judgment, develop therapeutic relationships with patients and others, work in stressful situations, and tolerate close physical contact with patients and co-workers, including:

  • Ability to work with multiple patients and colleagues at the same time.
  • Ability to work with others under stressful conditions.
  • Ability to work with individuals of varying socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to act in the best interests of patients.
  • Ability to drive to clinical sites located within a 120 mile radius of Mineral Wells, including driving in rush hour traffic throughout the DFW metroplex.
Critical Thinking

The student must possess sufficient ability to comprehend and process information in a timely manner, including:

  • Ability to collect and interpret data related to patients and physical therapy services.
  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks, process information, and make decisions.
  • Ability to apply knowledge from education to the provision of physical therapy services.
  • Ability to observe, measure, and interpret normal and abnormal patient responses to physical therapy interventions, and appropriately modify treatment interventions.
  • Ability to act safely and ethically in the physical therapy lab and clinic.

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