Physical Therapy Program Mission and Philosophy
The faculty of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of North Florida are dedicated to preparing students for entry-level clinical practice through activities and coursework that provide guidance and instruction in current sciences and practice and stimulate critical inquiry of the same. To that end, the curriculum has, as one of its foundational elements, the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. The goal is to prepare physical therapists to provide quality care, promote prevention and wellness, and contribute to evidence based practice. The program is committed to life-long learning and seeks to provide opportunities for ongoing professional development for students in the program, as well as for professionals in the field.
The physical therapy program has a positive learning environment that supports an expectation for excellence through its commitment to openness, fairness, integrity, professionalism, diversity, tolerance, and concern for the health and well-being of oneself and others.
Philosophy of the Program
The program faculty believe that faculty and students function best in an environment that fosters personal and professional growth. The learning environment is designed to challenge students to become confident, competent, and compassionate health care professionals able to practice autonomously and ethically within a changing health care environment. Students are encouraged to identify and accomplish goals within the areas of teaching/learning, research and service. Opportunities for development are provided by program requirements and activities on campus and in the community.
Faculty and students are encouraged to mutually foster intellectual and professional development. This stimulation requires the use of creative and interactive approaches to teaching and learning. Scientific inquiry and clinical research are essential to maintaining a dynamic program that responds to the health care needs of society, and contribute to the professional knowledge base that shapes physical therapy practice.
The faculty regard physical therapy as a health-care profession having as its primary role, the responsibility to meet the needs of society through health and wellness promotion; and the use of scientific principles to identify, assess, correct, or alleviate disability, impairment or movement dysfunction. The physical therapist promotes optimum health and function through the integration of elements of care that maximize patient outcome. A constantly changing health-care environment combined with a multiplicity of practice settings, professional commitment and accountability creates the need for the physical therapist to withstand social transformation. In a dynamic health-care environment the physical therapist needs to respond to the diversity of health care consumers and the circumstances for which they seek care with empathy, compassion and respect for the individual. This role for physical therapists requires critical and logical thinking and proficient problem solving through the use of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis and intervention strategies closely related to outcome management.
In addition to providing services, the physical therapist’s role is to advocate for the advancement of the profession, strengthen health care policy and standards of practice, and strive to ensure the availability, accessibility, and excellence in the delivery of physical therapy services. In addition to the examination and intervention of individuals with physical disability, faculty and students endorse an important role for physical therapists in preventive health care. The program seeks to develop leadership, with faculty and students serving as agents and advocates for positive change.