Guidelines for Required Clinical Observation

Clinic observation is required by the NMC Physical Therapist Assistant Program for admission. This is your opportunity to weigh your interest in the field and to learn more about the physical therapy profession. Therapists or assistants within the clinic who are providing you the opportunity for this experience will need to verify your participation in writing by signing an observation form. Twenty hours (20) are necessary to meet the minimum admission criteria. It is YOUR responsibility to arrange this observation. You may fulfill the hours at more than one facility.

  1. Call ahead to the clinic of your choice to arrange an appointment for your observation. Explain your interest in the physical therapy profession and your intention to apply to PTA school.
  2. Expect that it may be one to two weeks before the observation time can be scheduled. Be prepared to only be able to observe one to two hours at some clinics due to busy PT/PTA schedules.
  3. Dress professionally, it is best to ask what the dress code is for the particular clinic you are observing. Even though you are not a part of the program at this time, you will still be viewed as a representative of Nebraska Methodist College. Clinical sites do have the right to send you home if they feel you are dressed inappropriately. If there is not a specific dress code here are some things to consider: No jeans, low rise pants or low cut/midriff tops Wear low heeled, closed toe non-slip shoes and dress pants Shirts should be neat and tucked in No perfume (potential allergies) Cosmetics and jewelry in moderation
  4. Notify the clinic if you will be late or absent. Be sure to speak directly with the program personnel or leave a message with the clinic office. Reschedule as soon as possible. Avoid canceling at the last minute.
  5. Be ready to ask questions. However, if the therapist or assistant is involved in treatment, you may be advised to hold questions until treatment is completed.
  6. Follow any policies or directions given by clinic personnel without question. You may be asked to leave a treatment area if necessary. Wait in a non-treatment area and ask questions at a later time. The patient is always the therapist's first responsibility.
  7. Be familiar with HIPAA policies and observe patient confidentiality at all times. Most clinics will request that you sign a confidentiality form; this must be done to complete your hours.
  8. When observing, be sure to keep interactions related to the scope of physical therapy. If you become involved in a situation that is uncomfortable for you, seek supervision immediately.