Technical Standards and Essential Functions

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/sensory 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


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