Clinical Practicum I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PTA 161

       Course Name: Clinical Practicum I

       Credits: 1 (5 lecture; 4 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Concurrent enrollment in PTA 107 and PTA 110.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course offers observation and beginning supervised clinical experience at a facility. Content includes lecture discussions of clinical experiences, practice in oral and written communications.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of clinical experience the student is able to:

  1. Adapt to facility standards and procedures to ensure health, safety and confidentiality of patients and staff including complying with HIPAA standards, adherence to infection control standards and procedures and maintaining the safety of self and others in the provision of care in all situations.
  2. Assist with patient care in established treatment programs under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist and/or assistant in a safe, legal and ethical manner.
  3. Display awareness of the PTA role in the clinical facility utilizing the APTA’s Values based Behaviors for the PTA.
  4. Display positive interaction and cooperation with professional and support staff. Maintain a good working relationship with the clinical instructor.
  5. Display appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  6. Compose Subjective Objective Assessment and Plan (SOAP) notes or other brief forms of documentation to reflect actual treatment events in the clinic. Recognize frequently used medical terminology and abbreviations.
  7. Demonstrate sensitivity to cultural, age and gender differences in patients, families and other professionals in the clinical setting.
  8. Recognize the physical, emotional and social effects of diagnoses commonly treated in the clinical facility. Place the patient’s needs above one’s own.
  9. Identify and accept their own abilities and limitations with respect to patient care activities and display an interest in learning facility resources.
  10. Initiate self-directed problem solving for clinical issues and make appropriate use of facility resources and staff for own learning.
  11. Organize self with respect to time constraints of the facility. Demonstrate punctuality, effective time management and self-discipline.
  12. Display professional behaviors as mandated by the APTA/IPTA.
  13. Discuss concerns about patients or the clinical affiliation with the appropriate person(s) i.e. the clinical instructor or academic faculty.
  14. Display an understanding of and respect for patients’ rights to privacy, confidentiality, safety and choice.

Upon completion of lecture component, the student is able to:

  1. Demonstrate the basic principles of healthcare documentation.
  2. Compose objective oral and written communications utilizing appropriate terms and abbreviations.
  3. Describe basic organizational structure of assigned clinical facility.
  4. Identify functional outcomes of interventions observed during the clinical experiences.
  5. Communicate individual clinical experiences.
  6. Discuss concerns about patients or the clinical affiliation with the appropriate person(s) i.e. clinical instructor or academic faculty.
  7. Display an understanding of and respect for patients’ rights to privacy, confidentiality, safety and choice.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

A detailed course outline will be provided on the first of class.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The classroom portion of this course will be taught face to face and is primarily lecture/discussion supplemented by audio-visual material. Clinical portion is delivered off campus at assigned clinical facility by clinical facility staff.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Lecture (1 hour per week)
    Attendance at all lectures is required. Makeups on announced quizzes will result in a grade penalty.  In an emergency, call the instructor prior to the class periods.  Students are expected to actively participate in class activities.
  2. Clinical experience (8 hours per week for eight weeks).

    1. Students must follow facility rules regarding health, safety, confidentiality and dress code.
    2. All absences from clinicals must be made up before a final grade is given in the course.  In case of a clinical absence, or if tardiness is expected, call your clinical supervisor.  If absent from clinic for more than one day inform the clinical coordinator at Oakton.
    3. The times and days of your affiliation are not to be changed without approval.
    4. The completed evaluation of the facility (form provided) is to be turned in at the end of the semester.
    5. The facility clinical supervisor will discuss and complete your evaluation at the end of the semester.
    6. Initiate self-directed problem solving for clinical issue and make appropriate use of facility resources and staff for own learning.
  3. Students will keep a journal as assigned.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Required Text: M. Lukan: Documentation for PTAs, 4th ed., or text of comparable content.
  2. Selected handouts
  3. Overheads and videos

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Announced Quizzes
  2. Graded assignments and weekly journal requirements.
  3. Participation in class discussion and clinical experiences.
  4. Clinical evaluations by clinical supervisors.
  5. Clinical visits and reports made by OCC Faculty member.

Grades will be determined as follows:

A 90 – 100%
B 80 – 89.9%
C 70 – 79.9%

Clinical grades will constitute 70% and lecture 30% of the final grade.

Students must pass each component of the course with at least a 70% to pass the course.

XI.   Other Course Information

Late homework assignments will not be accepted.

Students found guilty of plagiarism/cheating are subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Attendance Policy:  Instructor should be notified prior to class of an absence.  Missed clinical time must be made up at the convenience of the clinical instructor. Students who inform the instructor in advance (at the beginning of the semester) of an intended absence for a MAJOR religious observance will not be penalized. However, instructors are not responsible for teaching material again and missed work, exams, or quizzes must be made up either in advance or immediately following the intended absence.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.