PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT PROGRAM
Physical Therapist Assistants, under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist, assist with specific components of treatment interventions. Their duties may include a variety of interventions including therapeutic exercises, functional training in both self-care and work reintegration, use of adaptive equipment, wound management, and the use of physical agents. They attain their requisite skills through extensive academic and clinical education. The Physical Therapist Assistant program is competency-based and provides sequential learning experiences progressing from theoretical to applied using patient simulations in the laboratory and finally to actual patient treatments in clinical education centers. During clinical education courses, students may practice at facilities throughout Maine under the supervision of clinical instructors.
Applicants to the Physical Therapist Assistant program should be aware that physical therapist assistants are involved in the provision of direct care to patients. Under the supervision of a physical therapist, the physical therapist assistant may be responsible for selected procedural interventions, data collection, and communication, including written documentation associated with the completion of the intervention. The physical therapist assistant must also be able to make judgments and modifications regarding the safety and comfort of the patient having the intervention. Therefore, the student must have observational, communication, motor, cognitive, psychosocial, and behavioral abilities sufficient to carry out the above responsibilities. Technical accommodation can be made available for some disabilities in some of these areas, but a student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.
For students to successfully complete the Physical Therapist Assistant program, they must be capable of performing with or without reasonable accommodation the following:
- The physical ability to lift, move, and reposition patients; safely guard patients when standing and ambulating patients on level surfaces and stairs.
- A visual acuity with corrective lenses to identify equipment calibrations, distinguish color changes of a patient’s skin, and collect patient data.
- The manual dexterity to manipulate instrument dials and perform various therapeutic interventions.
- The tactile ability to palpate pulses and palpate specific components of the musculoskeletal system.
- A hearing ability with auditory aids to understand the normal speaking voice without viewing the speaker’s face, hear timers and call bells from patients, take/hear blood pressure and lung sounds with a stethoscope, and hear alarms and emergency signals.
- Effective communication when explaining procedures, receiving information verbally and from written documentation; documenting in a patient’s chart; exhibiting appropriate interpersonal skills; and recognizing and responding appropriately to nonverbal behavior of self and others.
- The ability to function safely under stressful conditions and the ability to adapt to an ever changing environment inherent in clinical situations involving patient care.
The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Kennebec Valley Community College is to provide the opportunity for an education to prepare students for competent and safe practice as physical therapist assistants. Physical therapy is a growing and changing health care field which needs practitioners who can adapt to change and are socialized into lifelong learning. The program assumes a responsibility for developing a skilled work force to help meet the dynamic physical therapy needs of the community and to enhance the quality of existing physical therapy services. Through a cooperative effort with clinical education centers, the Physical Therapist Assistant program offers an opportunity for the students to develop necessary knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors to attain an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Physical Therapy.
Upon successful completion of the Physical Therapist Assistant program, the graduate is expected to:
- Possess knowledge to become successfully licensed as a physical therapist assistant.
- Competently and safely practice as an entry level physical therapist assistant.
- Demonstrate professional behaviors as an entry level physical therapist assistant.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Kennebec Valley Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314