Course Descriptions

Below are course descriptions for Duke’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Session 1

PT-D 601 Clinical STEPs® I. Clinical Student Team Experience in Practice (STEP) is the first in a series of four courses that are embedded in the first phase of the DPT curriculum. Students will work in teams with a physical therapist clinical instructor to apply skills, demonstrate clinical problem-solving, and assume professional roles in various clinical patient care settings. In each course students will be expected to demonstrate skills and knowledge gained from the current and previous coursework. Credit: 1.

PT-D 631 PT Professional Practice I. Professional Development and Leadership threads throughout the entire DPT curriculum. In this course, learners will develop the professional behaviors, knowledge, and values crucial to being leaders in a dynamic healthcare environment. Through an understanding of the profession’s history and governance, students will have experiences in professional and patient advocacy initiatives. Students will master the crucial skills of patient and professional communication in order to operate effectively in practice. Students will also be grounded in ethical frameworks that can be easily applied to practical situations encountered in clinical practice. This course series also seeks to develop leadership skills necessary to be change agents in healthcare practice, management, education, research, and advocacy. Credit: 1

PT-D 632 Structure and Function of the Human Body. Normal Human Body provides the anatomic and basic science foundations necessary for physical therapists’ understanding the human body. The course emphasis is on gross anatomy and the relationships between the musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular systems of the human body, including a critical examination of the morphology and function of the axial skeleton, upper and lower limbs, and cardiac, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, urogenital and reproductive systems. This course also covers the microanatomy of the major organs and the functions of their constituent cells, the embryological origins of organ systems, the biomechanics of various organ tissues, and the response of muscle, bone, joints, and soft tissue to disease and injury pertinent to the practice of physical therapy. Credit: 7

PT-D 633 Movement Science. This course is an introduction to the elements and principles fundamental to the study of human movement. Included are a foundation of kinesiology and biomechanics, biomechanics of biological tissues, joint structure and function, normal and pathological joint movement, normal human development, and observational gait analysis of normal and pathological gait patterns. Concepts of kinetics, kinematics, length-tension relationships, joint classification, and functional movement will be discussed. While these concepts seem very specific in nature, they will always be focused on the application to the patient population. The basic understanding of human movement provides a foundation for developing assessment and intervention strategies to improve and restore mobility and function. Credit: 4
PT-D 634 Introduction to the Patient Examination. This course provides contact with patients and patient care techniques. It exposes students to the initial steps in the patient/client professional relationship. Emphasis is placed on the following skills: patient history, vital signs, palpation, range of motion, goniometry, and muscle performance testing. The emphasis throughout the course is to develop the skills necessary to assure patient/client and student safety in the clinical environment. Credit: 5

PT-D 650 Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities in PT I. This curriculum will equip Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy Students with a deeper understanding of implicit and explicit bias, race, racism, sex, ability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic difference. Course facilitators and guest lecturers will guide students in provocative conversations around health disparities, structural competency, bias, and the impact of implicit associations on interactions with peers and patients. Through skills-building exercises and experiential opportunities outside traditional classroom settings, students will be challenged to explore individual, cultural, and social determinants of health and wellness. In addition, students will gain knowledge about the evidence and economics of health disparities, the Durham community, and the history of Duke Medicine’s role in that community. Through the evaluation of peer-reviewed literature regarding health disparities, students will gather knowledge and skills to mitigate provider influences on disparities and ultimately improve the quality of healthcare. Credit: 1

SESSION 2

PT-D 611 Clinical STEPs® II. Clinical Student Team Experience in Practice (STEP) is the second in a series of four courses that are    embedded in the first phase of the DPT curriculum. Students will work in teams with a physical therapist clinical instructor to apply skills, demonstrate clinical problem-solving, and assume professional roles in various clinical patient care settings. In each course students will be expected to demonstrate skills and knowledge gained from the current and previous coursework. Credit: 2.
PT-D 635 PT Professional Practice II. Professional Development and Leadership threads throughout the entire DPT curriculum. In this course, learners will develop the professional behaviors, knowledge and values crucial to being leaders in a dynamic healthcare environment. Through an understanding of the interprofessional nature of health care, learners will be prepared to work as a team player in the clinic. Students will master the crucial skills of patient and professional communication in order to operate effectively in practice. Students will continue to apply clinical reasoning skills to solve patient cases in a realworld context.  Credit: 1.5

PT-D 636 Healthcare Systems. Introduction to the healthcare system will provide the student with an understanding of the components of the health system that the physical therapist must integrate and facilitate. Included in this course will be a focus on interpreting health systems research including the translation of findings into practice. Students in this course will be introduced to all aspects of the health care system and will be provided the foundations to serve as leaders in a collaborative health system model. Credit: 2

PT-D 637 Foundational Integumentary Practice. This course will introduce the practice management model for patients with pathology or impairments to their integumentary system. The histology of the skin and pathologies of the integument will be the foundation from which the assessment and management of pathological processes and wounds of various etiologies will be discussed. The continuum of impairment through functional limitation and disability will be presented as a result of primary and secondary pathologies of the integument. The students will look at secondary management of the integumentary system in many physical therapy settings and across the lifespan. Credit: 1

PT-D 638 Exercise Prescription in the Continuum of Care. Exercise prescription is an integral part of the rehabilitation process and Physical Therapists are qualified to appropriately prescribe and dose exercise interventions for a variety of populations,  including individuals with injuries, impairments, co-morbidities, and additional risk factors. Exercise prescription involves careful screening including history and physical examination to determine a patient’s capacity for physical activity as well as their risk factors and goals. This course introduces the science and theory of exercise prescription in the continuum of care. An overall goal of the course is to provide the foundational basis for understanding the body’s physiological responses to physical activity as well as understand the acute responses and chronic physiologic adaptations to physical activity,  including some of the static and dynamic factors (“moderating variables”) that influence such responses and adaptations. Students will be introduced to cardiorespiratory, strength, and mobility testing, exercise prescription, and special population considerations. Clinical correlations and case-study applications will be used throughout the course. Credit: 2

PT-D 639 Foundational Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Practice. Physical therapists commonly encounter clients with cardiovascular and/ or pulmonary systems dysfunction, either as a primary problem or co-morbidity. This course gives an overview of cardiovascular and pulmonary-related pathologies, examination procedures, diagnostic procedures, goal setting, and interventional strategies. Successful completion of the course requires the ability to synthesize and integrate information from this course with prerequisite and other related courses in a variety of cardiovascular and pulmonary case-based problem-solving experiences. The didactic portion of the course provides the background to make evidence-based clinical decisions in the examination, evaluation, and treatment of patients with a wide variety of cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions. The practicum portion focuses on the integration of these decision-making capabilities with the necessary psychomotor skills required for the examination and treatment of patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions. Credit: 4

PT-D 640 Pain Science. Persistent pain is more prevalent than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined; and is responsible for over $600 billion in healthcare and lost productivity costs. Importantly, persistent pain is not a symptom, but a health disorder. For optimal pain management, clinicians must understand and identify a multitude of biological, psychological, cognitive, and social factors. The course will educate students on acute and persistent pain mechanisms and influences. In addition, students will be introduced to evidence-based approaches for optimal pain management. Credit: 2

PT-D 642 Physical Therapy for the Older Adult. The number of Americans 65 years and older is projected to double within the next forty years; which will result in more older adults seeking medical care. The goal of this course is to provide students with the foundational knowledge and skills for optimal physical therapy management of older adults. Students will learn key concepts related to aging, age-related diseases and disorders, multimorbidity, and frailty. Students will also learn about age-related stereotypes, the influence of the physical environment, and caregiver roles.  Lastly, students will gain expertise in the measurement of physical performance and fall risk and gain competency in optimizing exercise and physical activity for common post-operative conditions, falls prevention, and overall health and wellness. Credit: 2

PT-D 643 Evidence-Based Practice. In this course students will be introduced to the science of clinical reasoning in health care and physical therapy, and, the integration of clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice will be developed. Students will learn how to access knowledge for practice and will learn the methods of scientific inquiry, including research theory, design, methods, and measurement. Students will focus on learning how to determine the statistical conclusion validity of research evidence for the practice and learn the logic of hypothesis testing and specific statistical tests used for the descriptive and inferential analysis of experimental research data. Epidemiological statistics that enhance the understanding of diagnostic tests and treatment options will also be covered, as well as the analytical components of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Students will read research literature weekly and participate in a critical appraisal of the selected research methods and the meaningfulness of the findings for clinical decisions. Credit: 2

PT-D 644 Adaptive Technologies. This course covers foundational content related to mobility assistive technologies including orthoses, prostheses, and wheelchairs. Additionally, patient management for individuals with amputations will be covered. Credit: 2

PT-D 647 Structure and Function of the Human Brain. This course provides the anatomical and physiological foundations necessary for physical therapists’ understanding of the human brain. This course will provide a comprehensive survey of the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the central and peripheral nervous systems, which will provide a framework for understanding the form and function of the neuronal systems in the brain and spinal cord that motivate bodily actions and behaviors. Learners will command comprehensive knowledge concerning the form and function of the nervous system, how the nervous system governs human behavior, and how neuroanatomy and neurophysiology impact the care of patients/clients in the profession of physical therapy. Credit: 3

PT-D 651 Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities in PT II. This curriculum will equip Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy Students with a deeper understanding of implicit and explicit bias, race, racism, sex, ability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic difference. Course facilitators and guest lecturers will guide students in provocative conversations around health disparities, structural competency, bias, and the impact of implicit associations on interactions with peers and patients. Through skills-building exercises and experiential opportunities outside traditional classroom settings, students will be challenged to explore individual, cultural, and social determinants of health and wellness. In addition, students will gain knowledge about the evidence and economics of health disparities, the Durham community, and the history of Duke Medicine’s role in that community. Through the evaluation of peer-reviewed literature regarding health disparities, students will gather knowledge and skills to mitigate provider influences on disparities and ultimately improve the quality of healthcare. Credit: 2

SESSION 3

PT-D 621 Clinical STEPs® III. DPT STEPs® is the third in a series of four courses that are embedded in the first phase of the DPT curriculum. Students work in teams with a physical therapist clinical instructor to apply skills, demonstrate clinical problem-solving, and assume professional roles in various clinical patient care settings. In each course, students are expected to demonstrate skills and knowledge gained from the current and previous coursework. Credit: 1.

PT-D 641 PT Professional Practice III. Professional Development and Leadership threads throughout the entire DPT curriculum. In this course, learners will develop the professional behaviors, knowledge and values crucial to being leaders in a dynamic healthcare environment. Through interactive case conferences, learners will apply foundational practice management knowledge to complex patient scenarios.  Students will also begin to develop skills to provide effective educational content to learners of all kinds. Students will also be grounded in ethical frameworks that can be easily applied to practical situations encountered in clinical practice. Credit: 1

PT-D 645 Foundational Musculoskeletal Practice. This course introduces the student to musculoskeletal examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention for impairments, functional limitations, and disability in clients with pathologies of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine; upper extremities, pelvis, and lower extremities. Credits: 12

PT-D 646 Foundational Neurologic Practice. The Neurological Practice Management (NPM) course includes the basic etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical presentation of common focal and global neurological conditions and injuries. Learners will apply assessment procedures to define impairments and limitations across activities and participation, and develop a plan of care for adults with neurological dysfunction. The course will cover the management of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, peripheral nervous system dysfunction, vestibular pathologies, and motor unit diseases. Examination, evaluation, diagnosis, pharmacological management, clinical decision-making, prognosis, standardized assessments, outcome measures, and interventions will be emphasized. Credit: 8

SESSION 4-6

PT-D 701 Clinical STEPs® IV. DPT STEPs® is the fourth in a series of four courses that are embedded in the first phase of the DPT curriculum. Students work in teams with a physical therapist clinical instructor to apply skills, demonstrate clinical problem-solving, and assume professional roles in various clinical patient care settings. In each course, students are expected to demonstrate skills and knowledge gained from the current and previous coursework. Credit: 2

PT-D 731 PT Professional Practice IV. Professional Development and Leadership threads throughout the entire DPT curriculum. In this course, learners will develop the professional behaviors, knowledge and values crucial to being leaders in a dynamic healthcare environment. Through an understanding of the profession’s history and governance, students will have experiences in professional and patient advocacy initiatives. Students will master the crucial skills of patient and professional communication in order to operate effectively in practice. Students will also be grounded in ethical frameworks that can be easily applied to practical situations encountered in clinical practice. This course series also seeks to develop leadership skills necessary to be change agents in healthcare practice, management, education, research and advocacy. Credit: 2

PT-D 732 Foundational Pediatrics Practice. This course will introduce the practice management model for pediatric patients. The theoretical basis of pediatric development, normal and pathological development will be the foundation from which the assessment and management of various etiologies will be discussed. The continuum of impairment through functional limitation and disability will be presented as a result of primary and secondary pathologies. The students will look at secondary management of the pediatric patient in many physical therapy settings and across the lifespan. Credit: 4

PT-D 733 Management of the Complex Patient. Complex patient management will introduce the student to the assessment and management of complex patient cases across the lifespan and the continuum of care. An emphasis will be placed on clinical decision-making related to the physical therapy management of individuals with multiple system involvement. Furthermore, collaborative navigation of the complex patient through the health care system will be underscored. Credit: 2

PT-D 734 PT Professional Practice V. Professional Development and Leadership threads throughout the entire DPT curriculum. In this course, learners will develop the professional behaviors, knowledge and values crucial to be leaders in a dynamic healthcare environment. Through an understanding of the profession’s history and governance, students will have experiences in professional and patient advocacy initiatives. Students will master the crucial skills of patient and professional communication in order to operate effectively in practice. Students will also be grounded in ethical frameworks that can be easily applied to practical situations encountered in clinical practice. This course series also seeks to develop leadership skills necessary to be change agents in healthcare practice, management, education, research and advocacy. Credit: 2

PT-D 735 PT Professional Practice VI. Professional Development and Leadership threads throughout the entire DPT curriculum. In this course, learners will develop the professional behaviors, knowledge and values crucial to be leaders in a dynamic healthcare environment. Through an understanding of the profession’s history and governance, students will have experiences in professional and patient advocacy initiatives. Students will master the crucial skills of patient and professional communication in order to operate effectively in practice. Students will also be grounded in ethical frameworks that can be easily applied to practical situations encountered in clinical practice. This course series also seeks to develop leadership skills necessary to be change agents in healthcare practice, management, education, research and advocacy. Credit: 2

PT-D 736, 737 Practice Management (CAMP) I & II. Comprehensive Assessment and Management of Practice (CAMP) are two courses that will provide opportunities for students to deliver physical therapy services through a supervised team approach for the evaluation and treatment of conditions across all specialty practice areas. These courses will build upon earlier foundational and clinical experiences to further develop clinical reasoning. During CAMP, students will be mentored by DPT Program faculty as they work in small groups to provide care to community members who have a variety of diagnoses causing movement dysfunction or pain. The students in this course will be involved in developing and documenting a plan of care based on the ICF model that includes goals, skilled intervention, and progression. Credit: 1.5,1.5

PT-D 738–749 Advanced Practice Course (APC) I – XII. Students are required to take 9 APC courses during their second year to deepen their knowledge base in various practice content areas. These areas include Community and Global Engagement, Complex Patient Management, Geriatrics, Leadership, Neurorehabilitation, Orthopedics, Sports, Pain Science, Pediatrics, Research, Teaching, Vestibular Rehabilitation, and Obstetric and Pelvic Health. Credit: 9, 1 each course.

PT-D 750 Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities in PT III. The CDHD III experience is provided during the students’ second year to align with the professional practice course focus on advocacy and to contribute to meeting our divisional objective for our learners to “be influential leaders, advocates, and change agents for their patients, community, and the profession.” Students will be provided opportunities to develop real-world skills to address disparities at the interpersonal and community levels. This content is offered during the DPT second year as a continuation of the first-year CDHD 1 and 2 courses to drive the clinical application of skills and offer opportunities for direct engagement. The course is offered in parallel with our integrated clinical experiences of STEPs and CAMP to solidify our learners’ abilities to grapple with these complex issues. The expectation is that learners will enter their summative third-year terminal clinical experiences competently prepared to identify and reduce healthcare disparities. Credit: 0.5

PT-D 801, 802, 803. TCE I, II, III. This is a series of three consecutive clinical experiences occurring in the third year. Each is 12 weeks in length. Students learn to manage patients across the lifespan and the continuum of care, in both inpatient and outpatient practice settings in which physical therapy is commonly practiced. Clinical sites will have the opportunity to offer 12 week, 24 week or 36 week rotations when they are able to meet curriculum requirements. Credit: 12, 12, 12.