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The mission of physical therapist clinical education is to educate learners who, through structured and varied experiences of sufficient excellence and breadth and the application of essential knowledge, skills, and behaviors under the supervision of competent clinical educators, become competent entry-level practitioners.
Source: American Physical Therapy Association: Consensus Conference on Clinical Education, 1994.
The professional clinical entry-level program admits 38-42 students in July of each year into a 2.5 year curriculum which includes 35 weeks of full time clinical education experience. There are five (5) scheduled full time internships. The first is a 6-week internship in the summer between year 1 and year 2. This internship is a hospital based inpatient experience. During year 2 there is a 2-week internship at the start of the spring semester. Then following year 2 there are three different 9-week internships totaling 27 weeks. Clinical internships are completed in physical therapy settings in the United States with whom The University of Iowa has contracts. These are arranged by the education program's Clinical Education Coordinators with significant input from department faculty and students. The internships begin in mid to late May and end in mid December. In addition to the 35 weeks of full time internships, students have scheduled clinical experiences integrated into their schedules beginning Semester 1. These integrated experiences are half day or day-long experiences every other week for each student.
The goals of the clinical internships are: