Clinical Instructors and Supervision of Students

Supervision for Physical Therapist Students

The clinical instructor (CI) is a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant employed by the clinical facility who is designated by the Site Coordinator of Clinical Education to instruct, mentor, supervise, and evaluate the physical therapy students in the clinical education setting. The CI has a minimum of one year of clinical experience. The CI is involved with the daily responsibility and direct supervision of student clinical learning experiences.

The primary roles and responsibilities of the CI include the following:

  1. Communicate with the SCCE and student prior to the student’s arrival at the facility, providing information to the student on the clinical site, expectations of students, and site requirements.
  2. Plan and provide appropriate clinical learning experiences for the students taking into account the student’s level in the academic program as well as their previous clinical experiences.
  3. Provide or schedule provision of a thorough orientation of the facility, including but not limited to general policies and procedures, emergency procedures, philosophy of the site’s clinical education program, goals and expectations for the student while at the facility, and student learning objectives.
  4. Communicate expectations, assignments, and objectives to the student.
  5. Maintain communication with the SCCE, DCE, and most importantly the student, regarding the student’s performance.
  6. Provide appropriate supervision and guidance to the student throughout the clinical experience.
  7. Contact the DCE with unexcused student absences or other student requests that are not consistent with a positive learning experience.
  8. Contact the SCCE and DCE to identify any “red flag” areas on the CPI prior to midterm evaluation.
  9. Formally evaluate the student’s performance at midterm and final using the Clinical Performance Instrument, providing comments to substantiate the level of performance.
  10. Verbally review student performance formally at midterm and final through discussion of CPI evaluations completed by CI and student.
  11. Promptly recognize student performance or professional concerns, identifying these concerns to the student as well as to the supervising clinical education team member and/or DCE.
  12. Assure that in their absence at the clinical site that the student is provided with direct supervision from a licensed physical therapist. If another licensed physical therapist is not available to directly supervise the student in the CI’s absence, the student may not evaluate, treat, or otherwise be involved in treatment care for that time period.
  13. Demonstrate clinical competence and legal and ethical behavior that meets or exceeds the expectations of members of the profession of physical therapy.
  14. Demonstrate effective behavior, conduct, and skill in interpersonal relationships.
  15. Demonstrate effective communication skills, instructional skills, supervisory skills, and evaluation skills.
  16. Review the PT or PTA program Clinical Education Manual for your student.
  17. Complete the required documentation for the completion of the student’s clinical, including completion and sign-off on CPI Web, assessment of DCE and supervising faculty member, and evaluation of student in-service form.
  18. Participate in development courses offered to enhance clinical instruction skills.
  19. Act as a role model for ethical, legal, and professional behavior.

Supervision for Physical Therapist Students

The Laws & Regulations Governing Physical Therapist Students and Interns

Supervision for Physical Therapist Assistant Students

The Laws & Regulations Governing Physical Therapist Assistant Students and Interns

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