Physical Therapist Assistant Course Descriptions

PTA 1010: PATIENT HANDLING TECHNIQUES (2 credits)

This course presents the principles and techniques related to patient handling. You will learn positioning for a patient in bed and delivering an intervention, manual and mechanical lifting, wheelchair prescription and accessibility, wheelchair transfers, ace wraps, tilt table, vital signs, passive range of motion, body mechanics, aseptic technique, universal precautions and wound care. The application of principles and techniques are taught in classroom laboratory sessions.

PTA 1020: PHYSICAL THERAPY INTERVENTION TECHNIQUES I (2 credits)

This course presents the principles and techniques related to physical and mechanical agents. You will learn techniques related to hydrotherapy, thermotherapy, cryotherapy, radiant and sound energies and external compression. The theory and techniques of musculoskeletal massage will also be presented. The application of principles and techniques occur in classroom laboratory sessions. Prerequisites: PTA 1010.

PTA 1040: GROSS ANATOMY AND KINESIOLOGY OF THE MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM (2 credits)

This course concentrates on the study of bones, muscles and their function in the human body. Included in this content are bony landmarks, basic neuroanatomy as it relates to muscle function, muscle origin, insertion, innervations and action, Specific skills taught and evaluated for competency include palpation of muscles, ligaments and bony landmarks, goniometry and manual muscle testing. Prerequisites: BIOL 2400.

PTA 1050: ORIENTATION TO PHYSICAL THERAPY/ROLE OF THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT (2 credits)

This course introduces you to the healthcare system and the roles of the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant within that system. Components include the history of the profession, the responsibilities of the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant as members of a professional team, the use of communication, documentation and evidence-based practice, and an overview of the ethical and legal framework in which physical therapy is provided. The course also introduces the philosophical and psychosocial aspects of physical rehabilitation. Class discussions, small group work and a three-day introductory clinical experience assist you in developing an awareness and understanding of the ways in which values, culture, attitudes and expectations impact the delivery of physical therapy services and the patient/healthcare provider relationship.

PTA 1140: KINESIOLOGY INTEGRATION (1 credit)

In this course you will integrate the study of bones, joints, muscles, connective tissue and nerves into a functional model of biomechanical application to patient care. The study of movement as it applies to the major joint complexes of the upper and lower extremities will be emphasized. Learning how to choose appropriate exercises and how to progress exercises for common musculoskeletal conditions will be practiced. In addition, a research paper relating to one of these musculoskeletal conditions will be included in the coursework. Prerequisites: PTA 1140.

PTA 1160: PHYSICAL THERAPY INTERVENTION TECHNIQUES II (5 credits)

This course includes a review of the anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems as they relate to pathology. Emphasis is placed on how function is impacted by trauma, degenerative and neurological diseases and acute and chronic conditions. You will be introduced to the principles of therapeutic exercise and apply them in mobility, postural and spinal exercises. The theory, principles and technical skills of spinal traction, electrotherapy modalities, postural assessment, soft tissue mobilization and safe ambulation of a patient using an assistive device are also presented. Prerequisites: PTA 1020, 1050, 1090.

PTA 1310: CLINICAL EXPERIENCE I (2 credits)

This six-week (half day) experience in the clinical setting provides an opportunity for you to begin development of observation, communication and reporting skills. Under the supervision of a physical therapist, you will begin performing interventions utilizing the principles and techniques that have been learned in the curriculum to this point. Clinical experiences are performed in a variety of settings under the direction of clinical instructors representing a diverse range of knowledge and experience. Concurrent clinical perspective discussions focus on clinical problem solving and communication skills. Journal writing is utilized in conjunction with the clinical experience. Prerequisites: PTA 1110, 1160.

PTA 1350: HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEM (1 credit)

This course addresses current issues in health care that impact the physical therapist assistant’s work. Focus is on the healthcare delivery system with emphasis on the effect government and accreditation regulations have on delivery of patient care and reimbursement of services. It includes discussion of current trends in health care such as the impact of the implementation of the electronic patient record. Prerequisites: PTA 1110, 1160.

PTA 2000: PHYSICAL THERAPY INTERVENTION TECHNIQUES III (8 credits)

This course includes the study of therapeutic exercise including the basic physiology and rationale for application, equipment utilization, specific techniques and application to various patient populations. An overview of the application of motor control theories and techniques will be presented. You are asked to integrate previously learned assessment and documentation skills into advanced patient intervention situations. You will participate in classroom laboratory practice in the application of concepts relating to ambulation, mat and gait programs, independent living skills, rehabilitation procedures and orthotics and prosthetics. Your role as a member of the rehabilitation team and in the acute care setting is presented. Evaluation of your performance is based on written assignments, written exams, lab performance tests and a comprehensive practical exam. Prerequisites: PTA 1310, 1350.

PTA 2010: INTRODUCTORY CONCEPTS IN PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY (1 credit)

This course presents pediatric concepts that build on previous course work. You will compare the motor and social development of able-bodied and disabled children. The effects of the disorder and treatment techniques of common pediatric disorders are included. You will study the effect of disability on psychosocial status and the communication skills used in interacting with parents and children. An overview of equipment and play activities used in interventions and observation in a pediatric clinical setting are included. Prerequisites: PTA 1310..

PTA 2020: ADVANCED GERIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR THE PTA (1 credit)

This course is designed to give you more in-depth knowledge of the physiological and psychological aspects of normal and pathological aging as well as greater exposure to commonly seen geriatric diagnoses. In addition, the socioeconomic and cultural aspects of aging and their impact on rehabilitation are discussed. The goal of this course is to help you recognize how and why physical therapy practice may need modification when working with geriatric clients. Lecture, discussion, audiovisual materials, written assignments and/or community activities are utilized to promote learning. Prerequisites: PTA 1310.

PTA 2100: CLINICAL EXPERIENCE II (3 credits)

This six-week course is your first full-time experience in the clinical setting. You will be asked to utilize skills acquired throughout the program during this experience. Your clinical experience will be assigned from a variety of clinical settings. You will work under the direction of clinical instructors representing a diverse range of knowledge and experience. Journal writing and a case study report are utilized in conjunction with the clinical experience. Prerequisites: PTA 2000.

PTA 2200: CLINICAL EXPERIENCE III (4 credits)

This six-week course is a full-time capstone clinical experience for integration and refinement of technical skills. You are expected to utilize clinical decision-making strategies, problem-solving skills and effective interpersonal skills to function as a viable member of the healthcare team. Clinical experiences are performed in a variety of settings under the direction of clinical instructors representing a diverse range of knowledge and experience. You will keep a journal and write a reflective essay at the end of the clinical experience. Prerequisites: PTA 2100.

PTA 2260: LEARNING AND SERVICE THROUGH IMMERSION (1 credit)

This is a three-week course with a focus on experiential immersion into a community setting that includes vulnerable or underserved populations who may lack access to comprehensive health care services. You will select from three course sections that will offer an international, national or local (Twin Cities) community experience. The length of the immersion into the community may vary depending on the location of the course. All three sections will expose you to an intradisciplinary experience with the participating doctor of physical therapy students. You will participate in preparatory and reflection activities prior to, during and following the immersion experience. Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of prior PTA course work or instructor approval, CIL 1500.

PTA 2270: SPECIALIZED CLINICAL EXPERIENCE (1 credit)

This three-week , full-time clinical experience is designed for you to expand your knowledge base and gain a greater familiarity with how your previously-mastered skills, techniques and generic abilities are utilized in a setting with a unique focus and/or clientele. Through observation and participation in direct hands-on patient care, documentation and discussion with physical therapy staff, you will increase your understanding of the unique nature of the particular setting and gain a greater self-awareness of your individual ability to be successful in that chosen specialty area(prerequisite: PTA 2000).

PTA 2400: CAPSTONE SEMINAR (1 credit)

This two week seminar provides a "capstone" experience for you to reflect and explore the application of the common elements of the PTA Program's curriculum; including themes of ethical decision-making, critical-thinking, understanding the patient/client as a whole, collaborative and applied learning, and leadership. Special emphasis is placed on ethical frameworks, spirituality and its role in healing, principles of Catholic social teaching and the Physical Therapy Core Values. Preparation for entering the physical therapy clinical community includes preparation for the licensure exam, job search strategies, and stress on professionalism, leadership behaviors and life-long learning. The completion and presentation of the final research project and a final program comprehensive exam are included. Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of prior PTA course work or instructor approval..