The University of Central Florida is committed to the ideal that professional education requires a sound academic preparation that is enhanced and enriched by strong clinical experience. To this end, the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) clinical education program seeks to provide for its students those clinical experiences that offer a stimulating environment to further augment their professional development.
UCF’s D.P.T. clinical education program consists of 34 weeks of full-time clinical internships.The primary focus of the clinical education program is to provide students with a learning atmosphere that promotes the health and function of patients/clients. Students learn how to promote the maximum level of function through scientific principles and treatment rationales. While problem solving often follows logical predetermined steps, students must learn that many solutions are created by innovative, abstract thought processes. The excitement of research and discovery is nurtured.
The students’ goal in clinical education must be the achievement of the highest level of competency in all areas of patient care and related areas of physical therapy. Students are expected to actively participate, question, explore, teach and motivate during their interaction with the clinical community to reinforce their learning experiences and thereby enhance their education.
The clinical environment stimulates the student to look beyond information learned in the classroom to discover new meanings and relationships within the profession. The clinical centers also must create learning situations that guide students to expand their knowledge and skills and rethink attitudes. The clinical centers increase students’ awareness of personal responsibility as it impacts their clients and institutions. They also include exposure to realistic environments that allow practice in interdisciplinary communication, documentation, problem solving, and medical and legal aspects of patient care with a variety of disabilities and ages.
UCF’s D.P.T. Program has more than 600 affiliated clinical education facilities throughout the United States in various practice settings, including acute care hospitals, sports medicine facilities, pediatric facilities, neurologic rehabilitation units, and veteran/military hospitals.
The program takes great pride in both the diversity of clinical experiences it offers in practice setting and geographic location AND the training and expertise of the clinical instructors of affiliated institutions. Clinical instructors are encouraged and driven to pursue careers of lifelong learning both in clinical education instruction and advanced education in their specific practice areas.