|Physical therapy program reaccredited for 10 years|
The physical therapy program at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences has been reaccredited for 10 years by the national agency which accredits more than 200 such programs across the United States.
The reaccreditation report from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education included four commendations for the program and cited no areas of non-compliance, a rare phenomenon. The program offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree through the Department of Physical Therapy.
"It is unusual" for a program not to be required to file a progress report to address certain issues as part of the reaccreditation process, said Tom Mohr, professor and chair of physical therapy. UND's program is one of only two, of those reviewed this year, which had no deficiencies and no progress report.
The report gave particular emphasis to the high quality of the faculty, both academic, those teaching at the university, and clinical, those who are affiliated with the program and teach at more than 300 sites in 24 states. It also noted that the program "has made concerted efforts to train clinical faculty in the use of library search and resource opportunities," adding that these efforts are "likely to result in more evidence-based practice in the clinical community..."
The CAPTE report commended the program "for providing continuing education opportunities for clinical educators which has enabled more than 200 physical therapists to become certified clinical instructors, thus improving the quality of clinical education for PT students in the region."
Reviewers commended UND on its "strong clinical program," Mohr said, noting that students spend 36 weeks learning from clinical preceptors, nine weeks each in the areas of acute care, orthopedics, neuro-rehabilitation and a specialty of choice such as pediatrics or sports medicine.
"The outcome assessment program was highly rated," Mohr said. This is an effort by the department to obtain valuable feedback from students, graduates, employers and patients, and clinical instructors that can be used to make improvements in the program.
It also cited the high quality of the students and how well they do, the program and the curriculum, he said. It recognized that the UND program "is a major resource for the PT workforce in North Dakota and the mid-western region."
"I am especially proud of the faculty," Mohr said. "And the school's administration has been very good, in terms of supporting our program.
"I'm also very proud of the students," he said. "Our students, when they come in -- and as graduates -- are really quite positive about the program."
This was the first accreditation visit for the PT program since the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program was initiated in 2002. The DPT degree takes three and one half years to complete following a pre-physical therapy program of at least three years. The program admits 48 students in each class for a total enrollment of 144 at UND's Grand Forks campus.
The department also offers an online DPT degree that does not require students to come to the UND campus. The program has been completed by 50 students. Another 35 students, all of whom are physical therapists who have been employed for several years and wish to earn an advanced degree in their field, will complete it in December.
In carrying out its role of accrediting PT programs, the CAPTE "has an obligation to assure the public that individuals entering the profession are receiving an education that prepares them to provide competent, safe, effective patient care," said Leslie Portney, CAPTE chair in a letter accompanying the report to President Charles Kupchella. "This decision confirms that the program at the University of North Dakota is doing just that."
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