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Clinical Education

2024-2025 Clinical Education Update

The University of Dayton Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is excited to introduce an updated curriculum. Moving into our new curriculum, our first two rotations will be combined into a 12-week General Medicine/Neurology clinical experience. This change is based on feedback from current students, alumni, and our clinical partners. The transition gives students increased time in the clinic allowing for deeper development of clinical judgment, problem solving, and hands on skills. It also allows for content specific coursework to be introduced as students will be exposed to general medicine and neurology fundamentals prior to going out on their first clinical. 

Philosophy of Clinical Education

The University of Dayton is dedicated to providing quality clinical education in a variety of clinical settings both locally and throughout the United States. Approximately one-third of the entire three-year doctoral level program is performed in the clinical setting. An objective of the Physical Therapy program is to prepare students for their clinical rotations above and beyond the “norm” for student performance. The problem-based learning format of education greatly enhances the students’ ability to problem solve, apply critical information to each unique patient situation, and to “think on their feet” as they move from case to case. Problem-based cases demand students go well beyond diagnoses to address the whole of each person in the Catholic and Marianist spirit of service within our community. Another important feature of the curriculum is to prepare the students didactically for each broad area of physical therapy practice immediately prior to each clinical placement that “matches” that area of practice. Although it is not always possible to make a “match” with 100% accuracy, every attempt is made.  A “match” is defined as a clinical site providing students with at least a 50% caseload of the clinical rotation patient population of focus.

Overview of Clinical Rotations

  • General Medicine/Neurology (12 weeks): Fall of Year 2. This rotation takes place in a setting where patients are more medically complex. Examples of settings that work well for this rotation are inpatient acute care, skilled nursing, long term care, home health, and inpatient rehabilitation. This rotation can also be performed in an outpatient setting with an emphasis on a neurologic patient population. Some pediatric settings are also appropriate at this level of the curriculum and can include settings with medically complex patients, children with developmental delay, or in school-based environments.
  • Orthopedic (12 weeks): Spring of Year 2. This rotation is generally performed in an outpatient orthopedic or sports medicine environment. Options include hospital-based outpatient experiences, private practices, or may include opportunities with sports teams.
  • Terminal (12 weeks): Spring of Year 3. Unless a student has a specific need (i.e., they require more exposure to a certain population), this rotation allows a student to further develop in an area of their choosing. This can include any of the previous settings but other options are available as well.  Decisions are made in cooperation with the DCE.

Department of Physical Therapy

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2925