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Physical Therapy

Clinical Education Glossary

Providing common terminology for academic & clinical education faculty, clinicians, students & others in the physical therapy clinical education community

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  • Academic Faculty

    Definition: Educators and scholars within the academic institution dedicated to preparing students with the skills and aptitudes needed to practice physical therapy.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Academic Institution

    Definition: University or college through which an academic degree is granted.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education (PT)

    Definition: A formal supervised experiential learning, focused on development and application of patient/client-centered skills and professional behaviors. It is designed so that students gain substantial, relevant clinical experience and skills, engage in contemporary practice, and demonstrate competence before beginning independent practice.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education (PTA)

    Definition: A formal supervised experiential learning, focused on development and application of patient/client-centered skills and professional behaviors. It is designed so that students gain substantial, relevant clinical experience and skills, engage in contemporary practice, and demonstrate competence before beginning entry level practice.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Agreement

    Definition: A formal and legally binding agreement that is negotiated between academic institutions and clinical education sites or individual providers of clinical education that specifies each party's roles, responsibilities, and liabilities relating to student clinical education.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Consortia

    Definition: National and regional groups that include academic and clinical education faculty for the purpose of sharing resources, ideas, and efforts.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Curriculum (PT)

    Definition: The portion of the physical therapist professional education program that includes all part-time and full-time clinical education experiences as well as the supportive preparatory and administrative components.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Curriculum (PTA)

    Definition: The portion of the physical therapist assistant education program that includes all part-time and full-time clinical education experiences as well as the supportive preparatory and administrative components.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Environment

    Definition: The physical space(s) and/or the structures, policies, procedures, and culture within the clinical education site.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Experience (PT)

    Definition: Experiences that allow students to apply and attain professional knowledge, skills, and behaviors within a variety of environments. Experiences include those of short and long duration (eg, part-time, full-time), provide a variety of learning opportunities, and include physical therapy services for patients/clients across the lifespan and practice settings. Although the emphasis is on the development of patient/client physical therapy skills, experiences also may include interprofessional experiences and non–patient/client service delivery, such as research, teaching, supervision, and administration. Clinical education experiences are a part of the professional curriculum and include formal student assessment.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Experience (PTA)

    Definition: Experiences that allow students to apply and attain professional/technical knowledge, skills, and behaviors within a variety of environments. Experiences include those of short and long duration (eg, part-time, full-time), provide a variety of learning opportunities, and include physical therapy services for patients/clients across the lifespan and practice settings. Although the emphasis is on the development of patient/client physical therapy skills, experiences also include intraprofessional /interprofessional experiences and non–patient/client service delivery, such as research, teaching, supervision, and administration. Clinical education experiences are a part of the professional/technical curriculum and include formal student assessment

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Faculty

    Definition: The individuals engaged in providing the clinical education components of the curriculum, generally referred to as either site coordinators of clinical education (SCCEs), preceptors, or clinical instructors. Although the academic institution does not usually employ these individuals, they do agree to certain standards of behavior through contractual arrangements for their services.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Site (PT)

    Definition: A health service delivery agency or other setting in which clinical education experiences are provided for physical therapist students. The clinical education site may be, but is not limited to, a hospital, agency, clinic, office, school, or home and is affiliated with the education program(s) through a contractual agreement.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Education Site (PTA)

    Definition: A health service delivery agency or other setting in which clinical education experiences are provided for physical therapist assistant students. The clinical education site may be, but is not limited to, a hospital, agency, clinic, office, school, or home that is affiliated with the education program(s) through a contractual agreement.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Instructor (CI) (PT)

    Definition: The physical therapist responsible for the physical therapist student and for directly instructing, guiding, supervising, and formally assessing the student during the clinical education experience. When engaged in full-time clinical education designated to meet the minimum number of weeks required by CAPTE, the clinical instructor must be a licensed physical therapist with a minimum of one year of full-time (or equivalent) post-licensure clinical experience.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Instructor (CI) (PTA)

    Definition: The physical therapist or physical therapist assistant responsible for the physical therapist assistant student and for directly instructing, guiding, supervising, and formally assessing the student during the clinical education experience. When engaged in full-time clinical education designated to meet the minimum time frame set forth by CAPTE, the clinical instructor must be a licensed physical therapist or, where applicable, a physical therapist assistant with a minimum of one year of full-time (or equivalent) post-licensure clinical experience.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Performance Assessment (PT)

    Definition: Formal and informal processes designed to appraise physical therapist student performance during clinical education experiences. Assessment may be formative or summative in nature and performed for the purposes of providing feedback, improving learning, revising learning experiences, and determining successful attainment of student performance expectations during clinical education experiences.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Performance Assessment (PTA)

    Definition: Formal and informal processes designed to appraise physical therapist assistant student performance during clinical education experiences. Assessment may be formative or summative in nature and performed for the purposes of providing feedback, improving learning, revising learning experiences, and determining successful attainment of student performance expectations during clinical education experiences.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Clinical Performance Evaluation Tool

    Definition: A valid, reliable, and multidimensional clinical performance assessment tool utilized to determine if, and how well, a student meets established objectives during clinical education experiences.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Collaborative Clinical Education Model (PT)

    Definition: A clinical education experience in which 2 (or more) physical therapist students are assigned to 1 (or more) preceptor/clinical instructor(s). The students work cooperatively under the preceptor/clinical instructor(s). Examples include 2:1, 2:2, or 3:1 student to preceptor/clinical instructor ratio. Students may be from the same or different programs and may be at the same or different levels of training.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Collaborative Clinical Education Model (PTA)

    Definition: A clinical education experience in which 2 (or more) physical therapist assistant students are assigned to 1 (or more) preceptor/clinical instructor(s). The students work cooperatively under the preceptor/clinical instructor(s). Examples include 2:1, 2:2, or 3:1 student to preceptor/clinical instructor ratio. Students may be from the same or different programs and may be at the same or different levels of training.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Didactic Curriculum (PT)

    Definition: The component of the physical therapist professional education program that is comprised of the content, instruction, learning experiences, and assessment directed by the academic faculty.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Didactic Curriculum (PTA)

    Definition: The component of the physical therapist assistant education program that is comprised of the content, instruction, learning experiences, and assessment directed by the academic faculty.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Director of Clinical Education (DCE) (PT)

    Definition: Academic faculty member who is responsible for planning, directing, and evaluating the clinical education program for the academic institution, including facilitating clinical site and clinical faculty development.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Director of Clinical Education (DCE) (PTA)

    Definition: Academic faculty member who is responsible for planning, directing, and evaluating the clinical education program for the academic institution, including facilitating clinical site and clinical faculty development. [Note: the title Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) may still be utilized by some physical therapy education programs. The title Director of Clinical Education (DCE) is the preferred title for academic institutions to utilize when able.]

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Entry-Level Physical Therapist Assistant Clinical Performance (PTA)

    Definition: Performance that demonstrates knowledge, skills, and behaviors consistent with effective, efficient, and safe patient/client management to achieve optimal outcomes.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Entry-Level Physical Therapist Clinical Performance (PT)

    Definition: Performance that demonstrates knowledge, skills, and behaviors consistent with effective, efficient, and safe patient/client management to achieve optimal outcomes.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Fellowship

    Definition: A postprofessional planned learning experience comprised of a curriculum encompassing the essential knowledge, skills, and responsibilities of an advanced physical therapist within a defined area of subspecialty practice. A fellowship candidate has either completed a residency program in a related specialty area or is an American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) board-certified specialist in a related area of specialty. See definition for Defined Area of Practice and Residency and Fellowship Programs. Adopted: June 5, 2018; Revised: February 5, 2019, September 23, 2019; May 18, 2020; September 15, 2020; November 18, 2020. https://abptrfe.apta.org/contentassets/edd1a55ebbed4fb19cd22b8ddd3cc071/abptrfe-processes-and-procedures.pdf [Note: This definition will be updated to remain consistent with future revisions to the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) Accreditation Handbook.]

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • First Full-Time Clinical Education Experience

    Definition: The first clinical education experience designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE in which a student engages for a minimum of 35 hours per week.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Full-Time Clinical Education Experience (PT)

    Definition: A clinical education experience in which a student is engaged for a minimum of 35 hours per week. Full-time clinical education experiences designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE are directed by a physical therapist clinical instructor. An integrated clinical education experience may be a full-time clinical education experience.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Full-Time Clinical Education Experience (PTA)

    Definition: A clinical education experience in which a student is engaged for a minimum of 35 hours per week. Full-time clinical education experiences designated to achieve the minimum number of hours set forth by CAPTE are directed by a physical therapist and where applicable by a physical therapist assistant clinical instructor. An integrated clinical education experience may be a full-time clinical education experience.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Integrated Clinical Education (ICE) (PT)

    Definition: ICE is a curriculum design model whereby clinical education experiences are purposefully organized within a curriculum. In physical therapist education, these experiences are obtained through the exploration of authentic physical therapist roles, responsibilities, and values that occur prior to the terminal full-time clinical education experiences. Integrated experiences are coordinated by the academic program and are driven by learning objectives that are aligned with didactic content delivery across the curricular continuum. These experiences allow students to attain professional behaviors, knowledge, and/or skills within a variety of environments. The supervised experiences also allow for exposure and acquisition across all domains of learning and include student performance assessment. For integrated clinical education experiences to qualify toward the minimum number of full-time clinical education weeks required by accreditation (CAPTE) standards, they must be full time and supervised by a physical therapist within a physical therapy workplace environment or practice setting.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Integrated Clinical Education (ICE) (PTA)

    Definition: ICE is a curriculum design model whereby clinical education experiences are purposefully organized within a curriculum. In physical therapist assistant education, these experiences are obtained through the exploration of authentic physical therapist assistant roles, responsibilities, and values that occur prior to the terminal full-time clinical education experiences. Integrated experiences are coordinated by the academic program and are driven by learning objectives that are aligned with didactic content delivery across the curricular continuum. These experiences allow students to attain professional/technical behaviors, knowledge, and/or skills within a variety of environments. The supervised experiences also allow for exposure and acquisition across all domains of learning and include student performance assessment. For integrated clinical education experiences to qualify toward the minimum time frame set forth by CAPTE they must be full time and supervised by a physical therapist and where applicable by a physical therapist assistant within a physical therapy workplace environment or practice setting.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Intermediate Full-Time Clinical Education Experience (PT)

    Definition: A clinical education experience designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE in which a student engages for a minimum of 35 hours per week and returns to the academic program for further completion of the didactic curriculum.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Intermediate Full-Time Clinical Education Experience (PTA)

    Definition: A clinical education experience designated to achieve the minimum time frame set forth by CAPTE in which a student engages for a minimum of 35 hours per week and returns to the academic program for further completion of the didactic curriculum.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • International Clinical Education Experience (PT)

    Definition: A student education opportunity outside of the country in which the physical therapist education program is situated, for which the student obtains clinical education credit. [Note: The abbreviation ICE should not be used to describe an international clinical education experience.]

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • International Clinical Education Experience (PTA)

    Definition: A student education opportunity outside of the country in which the physical therapist assistant education program is situated, for which the student obtains clinical education credit. [Note: The abbreviation ICE should not be used to describe an international clinical education experience.]

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Internship

    Definition: A terminal full-time clinical education experience that provides recompense to participants in accordance with federal labor laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Learning Experience

    Definition: Any experience that allows or facilitates a change in attitude or behavior. A planned learning experience includes a learner, an objective for the learner, a situation devised to produce a response that contributes to the objective, a response by the student, and reinforcement to encourage the desired response.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Part-Time Clinical Education Experience

    Definition: A clinical education experience in which a student engages in clinical education for less than 35 hours per week. Part-time experiences vary in length. A part-time clinical education experience may be considered an integrated clinical education experience depending on the design of the experience and the learning objectives.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Physical Therapist Assistant Professional Education Program (PTA)

    Definition: Education comprised of didactic and clinical education designed to assure that students acquire the technical knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for entry-level physical therapist assistant practice.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Physical Therapist Assistant Student

    Definition: Student enrolled in a CAPTE-accredited or CAPTE-approved developing physical therapist assistant education program. Students should not be referred to as “physical therapy assistant students.”

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Physical Therapist Postprofessional Education Program

    Definition: Degree- and non degree-based professional development for the physical therapist to enhance professional knowledge, skills, and abilities beyond entry level. Examples include, but are not limited to, continuing education courses, postprofessional doctoral education programs, certificate programs, residencies, and fellowships. [Note: Examples of physical therapist assistant post entry level opportunities include, but are not limited to, continuing education courses, bachelor education programs, certificate programs, and advanced proficiency pathways.]

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Physical Therapist Professional Education Program

    Definition: Education comprised of didactic and clinical education designed to assure that students acquire the professional knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for entry-level physical therapist practice.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Physical Therapist Student

    Definition: Student enrolled in a CAPTE-accredited or CAPTE-approved developing physical therapist professional education program. Students should not be referred to as “physical therapy students".

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Preceptor (PT)

    Definition: An individual who provides short-term specialized instruction, guidance, and supervision for the physical therapist student during a clinical education experience. This individual may or may not be a physical therapist as permitted by law.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Preceptor (PTA)

    Definition: An individual who provides short-term specialized instruction, guidance, and supervision for the physical therapist assistant student during a clinical education experience. This individual may or may not be a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant as permitted by law.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Residency

    Definition: A postprofessional planned learning experience comprised of a curriculum encompassing the essential knowledge, skills, and responsibilities of an advanced physical therapist within a defined area of practice. When board certification exists through the American Board of Physical Therapist Specialties for that specialty, the residency program prepares the physical therapist with the requisite knowledge and skill set needed to pass the certification examination following graduation. See definition for Defined Area of Practice and Residency and Fellowship Programs. Adopted: June 5, 2018; Revised: February 5, 2019, September 23, 2019; May 18, 2020; September 15, 2020; November 18, 2020. https://abptrfe.apta.org/contentassets/edd1a55ebbed4fb19cd22b8ddd3cc071/abptrfe-processes-and-procedures.pdf [Note: This definition will be updated to remain consistent with future revisions to the ABPTRFE Accreditation Handbook.]

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Site Coordinator of Clinical Education (SCCE)

    Definition: A professional who administers, manages, and coordinates clinical assignments and learning activities for students during their clinical education experience. In addition, this person determines the readiness of people to serve as preceptors and clinical instructors for students, supervises preceptors and clinical instructors in the delivery of clinical education experiences, communicates with the academic program regarding student performance, and provides essential information to academic programs.

    Education Type: PT, PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Supervision (PT)

    Definition: Guidance and direction provided to a physical therapist student by the preceptor or clinical instructor. This varies based on the complexity of the patient/client or environment, jurisdiction and payer rules and regulations, and abilities of the physical therapist student.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Supervision (PTA)

    Definition: Guidance and direction provided to a physical therapist assistant student by the preceptor or clinical instructor. This varies based on the complexity of the patient/client or environment, jurisdiction and payer rules and regulations, and abilities of the physical therapist assistant student.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
  • Terminal Full-Time Clinical Education Experience (PT)

    Definition: A single, or set of, full-time clinical education experience(s) designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE that occurs after the student has completed the didactic curriculum of a physical therapist professional education program. Students may return to the academic program for didactic instruction that does not require additional clinical education experiences. The expected outcome of the final, or terminal, experience is entry-level performance.

    Education Type: PT

    Bibliographies:
  • Terminal Full-Time Clinical Education Experience (PTA)

    Definition: A single, or set of, full-time clinical education experience(s) designated to achieve the minimum time frame set forth by CAPTE that occurs after the student has completed the didactic curriculum of a physical therapist assistant education program. Students may return to the academic program for didactic instruction that does not require additional clinical education experiences. The expected outcome of the final, or terminal, experience is entry-level performance.

    Education Type: PTA

    Bibliographies:
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