DPT Program Information

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We believe that all individuals deserve to live and function within a global society at an optimal level of quality, and we believe that physical therapists, as movement system experts, are uniquely qualified to facilitate individuals in achieving this goal.
At Kean University we believe in providing world-class, student-centered, educational opportunities, to foster the intellectual, cultural and personal growth of individuals in order to think critically, creatively, and globally. 
The School of Physical Therapy at Kean University is rooted in these ideals, and believes that the profession of Physical Therapy deserves the continued development of socio-culturally competent, patient-centered professionals who are able to think clinically and collaboratively. 
Within our entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program we strive to develop conscientious and accountable clinicians who are ready to navigate modern healthcare environments as leaders in the optimization of movement function and health. 
We believe that the future of physical therapy lies within the ability of new professionals to continually demonstrate the value of physical therapy, by driving the evidence for patient outcomes, scholarly advancement, and the advocacy efforts of our profession.
Are you ready to help us shape the future of Physical Therapy, and the quality of life of those you serve?  Click here.
Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Goals
Graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Kean University will be:
“K”onscientious Embrace the core values for physical therapy practice, and model ethical and professional behaviors in conscientious and dutiful physical therapist practice (KU SLO 1, 2, 3).
“K”linically effective Apply principles of inductive reasoning to physical therapy evaluation and intervention, and actively evaluate patient outcomes as a measure of clinical effectiveness (KU SLO 1, 2, 4).
“K”ritically thinking Identify and incorporate current best evidence into clinical reasoning processes and assimilate into effective and efficient physical therapy practice (KU SLO 1, 4).
“K”ollaborative Demonstrate effective communication, consultation, and collaboration skills in the provision of services as an integral part of a health care team (KU SLO 1, 2, 3, 4).
“K”ontemporary Demonstrate the command of knowledge and practice necessary to assume the role of a competent, autonomous clinician within contemporary clinical practice environments (KU SLO 1, 2, 4).
“K”ampaigning Understand the value of and actively seek opportunities to serve as managers, leaders and advocates impacting the profession of Physical Therapy and larger healthcare community (KU SLO 1, 3).

Expected Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Outcomes

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program will consistently strive to achieve each of these programmatic goals:
  • Be actively committed to supporting a retention and graduation rate of 100% of every cohort.
  • Achieve 100% student membership in APTA/APTANJ all three years of professional education.
  • Achieve 100% NPTE pass rate.
  • Maintain 90% graduates actively involved in PT profession for 5 years following graduation.
  • Maintain 100% membership in APTA/APTANJ for 5 years following graduation.
  • Produce Doctors of Physical Therapy that are ready to immediately enter the health care practitioner role, who are highly respected within the PT community for their:

a. Clinical decision-making excellence
b. Efficient and high-impact delivery of quality care
c. Teamwork and interprofessional collaboration ability
d. Professional leadership and management skills

Technical Standards and Essential Functions

Participation in and successful completion of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Kean University require that all candidates and any enrolled students possess the ability to acquire academic knowledge, perform essential physical functions, and demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors involved in physical therapy practice.  The clinical doctorate degree [DPT] awarded at the completion of the degree certifies to the public that each individual has acquired this broad foundation of knowledge and skills requisite for safe, effective and efficient care to the community.  The Department faculty has outlined the Technical Standards deemed essential for successful completion of the DPT curriculum and future success in the provision of physical therapy services.  Students admitted to the DPT program must review the Technical Standards and submit a signed form at the time of matriculation.
Every applicant and student in the Kean DPT program must be able to demonstrate the ability to perform these essential functions.  Kean University has a strong commitment to full inclusion and equal opportunity for all persons with disabilities. The University adheres to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Every effort is made by our staff to provide every student with the opportunity to participate in all areas of graduate student life.
Communication Abilities
Ability to communicate effectively in English using verbal, non-verbal and written modes with faculty, other students, patients, family members, caregivers, and members of the healthcare team. The following are examples of communication abilities required for physical therapy practice:
  • Demonstrate appropriate interpersonal skills as needed for productive and respectful discussions with classmates, faculty, clinical instructors, and in varied therapist-patient situations
  • Demonstrate empathetic, active listening skills
  • Recognize, accurately interpret, clearly report, and appropriately respond to non-verbal communication of self and others
  • Elicit and transmit information on the patient’s status such as mood/affect, alertness, activity tolerance, changes in posture or vital signs
  • Describe, explain, and teach physical therapy procedures in both oral and written formats
  • Document and interpret physical therapist actions and patient responses clearly and legibly in the medical record
  • Receive and send verbal communications in emergency situations in a timely manner within the acceptable norms of  various clinical settings
  • Answer questions to the satisfaction of faculty, clinical instructors, patients, co-workers and other members of the healthcare team
Observation / Sensory Abilities
Ability to utilize one’s common sense as well as the functional use of the visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile senses to perceive all information necessary for safe and effective patient/client management.  The following are examples of observation abilities required of physical therapy practice:
  • Perceive the presentation of information in lecture, lab, and clinical education settings through demonstration, audiovisual presentation, and other experiential learning activities
  • Participate in cadaver dissection
  • Visualize and interpret images presented in text and on slides, films, videos, radiographs
  • Accurately observe and monitor a patient’s movement patterns, gait, and transfers from a distance and close at hand
  • Discern changes or abnormalities in skin integrity, muscle, bone, joint, lymph nodes, and intra-abdominal organs (heart tones, lung sounds) through visualization, auscultation, or palpation
  • Perceive environmental safety cues such as phones, alarms, overhead paging systems, and verbal communication
  • Visual ability to read, auditory ability to hear, and tactile ability to manipulate dials, sensors, and switches on all examination and therapeutic equipment
  • Read medical records, lab/radiology reports, and notes from other members of healthcare team
Conceptual / Intellectual / Analytical Abilities
Ability to clinically reason and make decisions in a timely manner using the skills of measurement, calculation, analysis and integration.  The following are examples of conceptual/intellectual/analytical abilities required of physical therapy practice:
  • Assimilate, learn, and apply large volumes of complex, technical
  • Comprehend three-dimensional and spatial relationships between structures 
  • Recognize cause and effect relationships in the significant findings from history, examination and laboratory data
  • Effectively and efficiently formulate evaluative and therapeutic judgments based on the ability to collect, process, prioritize and correctly interpret information from multiple sources
  • Respond  calmly to emergency situations
  • Self-evaluate and acknowledge limitations in knowledge and/or skills, including the need to refer the patient to another healthcare professional to assure safe, effective care
  • Participate in the process of scientific inquiry
  • Recognize the psychosocial impact of dysfunction and disability and integrate the needs of the patient/family into the plan of care
Motor Abilities
Adequate strength and endurance along with fine and gross motor function to execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective physical therapy treatment.  The following are examples of motor abilities required of physical therapy practice:
  • Access transportation to the academic setting and to clinical education site
  • Participate in classroom,  laboratory and clinical education activities for the entire defined work period (40+ hours per week)
  • Assume and maintain a variety of positions including sitting for up to 2-4 hours continuously, frequent standing, walking, bending, squatting, kneeling, stair climbing, reaching forward or overhead, twisting, quick directional changes
  • Lift, carry, and push patients in bed or wheelchairs (manage weights of 50+ lbs independently and/or 200+ lbs with assistance), manage/carry heavy equipment
  • Have sufficient endurance to sustain performance of a variety of exerting activities for up to 8-12 hours with occasional rest breaks
  • Accurately and efficiently perform diagnostic procedures without violation of the testing protocol
  • Ability to safely move oneself and a patient in three-dimensional space in the performance of motor function tests, transfers, and physical therapy interventions
  • Fine motor ability and eye-hand coordination to accurately manipulate commonly used instruments and equipment (exercise and testing equipment, physical agents, durable medical equipment, assistive and adaptive devices)
  • Demonstrate adequate coordination, balance, speed, and agility to ensure patient safety at all times including the ability to assist with and provide physical support during ambulatory activities on level (diverse floor surfaces – tile, carpet, concrete) and unlevel surfaces (stairs, ramps, grass, curbs)
  • Provide emergency care in a timely manner including performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, use of an automated external defibrillator, and applying pressure to stop bleeding
Affective Abilities
Ability to respond in a professional manner and to work harmoniously with individuals from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds often under complex and potentially stressful circumstances.  The following are examples of affective abilities required of physical therapy practice:
  • Display maturity, good judgment, sensitivity, and emotional stability in all academic and professional settings 
  • Effectively cope with and prioritize heavy academic schedules and deadlines
  • Demonstrate time management skills and a work ethic that promotes punctual attendance and full participation in all classroom, laboratory, community, and clinical education experiences
  • Take initiative, be creative, prepared, flexible, enthusiastic, cooperative, tolerant, respectful of authority, and industrious in all academic, clinical and professional settings
  • Possess the ability to develop respectful, empathetic, compassionate, yet effective relationships with fellow students, faculty members, clinical instructors, patients, family members/caregivers, and other members of the healthcare team
  • Exercise good judgment and prompt, safe completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients and families
  • Demonstrate the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment that is likely to change rapidly, without warning and/or in unpredictable ways
  • Accept suggestions and feedback, and adapt one’s behavior as appropriate
  • Demonstrate the willingness to learn and abide by ethical, legal and professional principles and standards of physical therapy practice
  • Demonstrate the ability to be self-reflective with respect to one’s commitment to learning and professional development
  • Recognize personal limitations and request assistance as appropriate
  • Present a professional appearance and maintain good general health/personal hygiene
  • Be able to maintain confidentiality
Reasonable accommodations may not:  (1) fundamentally alter the nature of the didactic or clinical education curriculum, (2) compromise the essential elements of the program, (3) cause an undue financial or administrative burden for the University, or (4) endanger the safety of patients, self or others.  It should also be noted that completion of all clinical education courses is a graduation requirement, and some facilities with which the program affiliates may not be able to meet the same accommodations as those offered to the student by the University during the didactic portion of the curriculum.  
While certain technological compensations can be made for some disabilities on a case-by-case basis, a candidate/student should be able to perform in all of the standard areas in a reasonably independent and timely manner.  The use of a trained intermediary means that a candidate/student’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation and as such is unacceptable.  
The Office of Disability Services at Kean University provides assistance and accommodations for all students with documented physical, medical, learning, emotional and/or psychological disabilities, both temporary and permanent. When applying for services, students should call the Office of Disability Services at (908) 737-4910, email disabilityservices@kean.edu, or visit Downs Hall, room 122, to make an appointment for an intake interview. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Applicants to the DPT program do not need to disclose information about reasonable accommodation needs prior to an admission decision.  An offer for admission can be withdrawn and/or a student already in the DPT program may be withdrawn if it becomes apparent that the applicant/student is unable to perform any of the essential functions or meet any of the technical standards.
References used to create these standards include:
Kean University Office of Disability Services: http://www.kean.edu/offices/disability-services
American Physical Therapy Association.  Minimum Required Skills of Physical Therapist Graduates at Entry Level.  BOD G11-05-20-449 accessed on February 21, 2013 at http://www.apta.org
Ingram, D.  (1997). Opinions of Physical Therapy Directors on Essential Functions. PHYS THER; 77: 37-45.


Public Notice of Candidacy

Effective May 2016, Kean University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Furthermore, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation. More information about the accreditation process through Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) can be found at http://www.capteonline.org/

1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA  22314
phone 703-706-3245