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Essential Skills Required of PTA Students

To successfully meet the Morton College PTA Program academic objectives and perform the duties required in the laboratory and clinical education aspects of the PTA program PTA students must be able to demonstrate critical, logical, and analytical thinking. They must demonstrate the ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and with people who have disabilities. PTA students must possess motor and visual skills that enable them to meet program academic objectives and perform duties required in the laboratory and clinical education aspects of the PTA program.

Morton College PTA students and staff have a right to safe practices while in the class/lab and patients have a right to safe, quality healthcare from Morton College PTA students and graduates. Therefore, the below essential skills have been adopted by the Morton College PTA program.

Dr. Alison Gehrke, PT, DPT

Associate Dean of Health Sciences
Director of Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Specifically, PTA students:

  1. Must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently both verbally and in writing with instructors, peers, patients, families, other healthcare professionals and the general public;
  2. Must have sufficient auditory ability to respond appropriately to instructors, peers, patients, and other healthcare professionals and to effectively use devices for measurement of blood pressure and breath sounds and monitor and operate equipment;
  3. Must be physically able to transfer patients to and from wheelchairs, beds, mats, etc., and effectively provide all aspects of patient care relevant to PT;
  4. Must demonstrate ability to spend prolonged periods of time walking, standing, sitting, bending as well as frequently crawling, reaching, pushing and pulling;
  5. Must have sufficient visual acuity to read regular to extra fine print on goniometers and other measuring devices and recognize, interpret, identify facial expression/body language, normal/abnormal movement patterns, and accessibility to the environment;
  6. Must have sufficient manual dexterity and sensation/tactile ability to allow them to monitor and operate therapy equipment, handle small objects, palpate muscles and/or bony prominences, and monitor patients appropriately;
  7. Must be able to complete interventions / assessments within required time limits in the  classroom, laboratory, and clinical areas;
  8. Must demonstrate sound critical thinking and problem-solving skills and be able to organize, prioritize and execute tasks in a responsible and efficient manner;
  9. Demonstrate the respect and interpersonal skills necessary to interact effectively with patients, patient’s families, physicians, clinical instructors, classmates, faculty, and staff.

*These essential skills must be met with reasonable accommodations and are reasonable expectations of the PTA student for performing common physical therapy skills.

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