Course Description

Professionalism: The Doctoring Profession

This course has been designed to provide the clinical doctoral learner with the opportunity for examination and discussion of the responsibilities, challenges and opportunities inherent in doctoral level physical therapy practice. A central theme of this course is the development of physical therapists who view their doctoral education as a route to engaged professionalism, that is, commitment to the demonstration of attributes which enhance the practice of physical therapy at both individual and societal levels. Such attributes include expert reasoning and psychomotor skills which allow the highest quality of patient care. Most importantly, these clinical skills must be grounded in a set of affective behaviors, which for the physical therapy profession, have been articulated in APTA’s 2003 Core Values in Physical Therapy.   Given physical therapy services are delivered in rapidly changing and competitive markets, doctoral physical therapy students should also possess a solid understanding of the ramifications and influence of defining factors both within and outside of the current health care delivery system. Finally, because doctoral prepared physical therapists will be expected to demonstrate responsibility towards the betterment of the profession as a whole, they must also be willing to assume an active role in identifying emerging problems as well as to seek appropriate solutions.   This course will be provided by several faculty conveners who represent various areas of practice, education, research and leadership within the physical therapy profession. It is also expected that each doctoral learner will contribute his or her own unique and varying professional experiences to our dialogue. Thus, it is hoped that together, learners and faculty will engage in a broad sharing of perspectives related to doctoral practice.  


Upon successful completion of this course, the student will:

  • Articulate his or her potential contributions to doctoral physical therapy practice in terms of personal and professional strengths, interests, and goals.
  • Examine the professional behaviors described in APTA’s Core Values in Physical Therapy and apply these to his or her practice.
  • Reflect on virtues and ethical constructs that guide decision-making in both society and health care.
  • Discuss strategies for the development and maintenance of expert practice and relate these to his or her goals for doctoring practice.
  • Discuss the role of APTA in promoting physical therapy as a doctoring profession, and develop strategies for advocacy of important issues identified by this organization.
  • Discuss the current and emerging competencies that are required of physical therapists as doctoring professionals.
  • Begin to explore the concept of mindfulness and how it can be incorporated into a discussion of core values and professionalism
  • Discuss the social contract and how it relates to  ethics from a philosophical and practical viewpoint.

Program Offerings

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