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Course Descriptions

The following courses are required for students to receive the doctor of physical therapy degree (DMU alumni do not need to take PPDPT 1609). An Orientation tutorial must be completed prior to registration for PPDPT coursework in the post-professional doctor of physical therapy program. PPDPT 1607 Clinical Applications may only be taken once all other courses have been completed.

PPDPT 1601 – Business management – 2 semester hours

This course introduces students to health care administration and management principles.  Topics include aspects of business planning, compliance and quality programs, and organizational and human resource concepts.  Students develop an understanding of the role of manager/supervisor relative to the goals and objectives of a physical therapy practice or department.   Supervision of personnel and ethical and legal issues associated with PT practice will be presented. Current topics in regulatory and reimbursement guidelines will be explored. 

PPDPT 1602 – Individual and family aspects of care – 2 semester hours

Individual characteristics of the patient/client that need to be taken into consideration in the management of a patient/client’s care. Family dynamics are also explored in relation to their impact on the health and health care decisions of a patient/client. Another component of this course is the physical therapist’s role with respect to issues of violence and abuse. 

PPDPT 1603 – Clinical decision making – 3 semester hours

Presents models for clinical decision-making including the patient care management model as presented in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. Evidence-based practice and the critical evaluation of research related to health care practice is a component of this course. Also covered are concepts in epidemiology and outcome measurement.

PPDPT 1604 – Health promotion and prevention – 3 semester hours

Concentrates on the health promotion and prevention needs of a diverse population. Content includes theories on wellness, health behavior models, motivational strategies and the provision of services by physical therapists that promote the health and quality of life of individuals and groups. Epidemiology is introduced for the purposes of planning health promotion and prevention services. The impact of nutrition on health is also a component of this course. An introduction to standardized tests and measures, interpretation of data collected, and development of a plan of care related to health promotion and prevention are primary components of this course. 

PPDPT 1606 – Motor control theory and analysis – 2 semester hours

Students investigate traditional and contemporary theories of motor control and their application to movement in this course. Opportunities to review current technology utilized in motion analysis is considered with regards to clinical applications. Kinetic and kinematic data from motion analysis devices are incorporated into movement analysis. Emerging evidence in motor control is discussed.

PPDPT 1607 – Clinical applications (capstone course) – 3 semester hours

In this culminating course, students select an individual capstone project and apply knowledge gained throughout the PPDPT program. Students demonstrate the efficient use of evidence-based resources and effective decision-making in developing the capstone project. Students use self-reflection to plan for professional development following program completion.

PPDPT 1609 – Manual therapy intervention – 2 semester hours

This course investigates the use of manual therapy interventions in neuromusculoskeletal physical therapy patient management. The course will focus on evidence-based interventions encompassing all regions of the body and as applicable to diverse patient populations. Material will be presented using both online and on-campus formats.  Participants will be asked to learn the basic concepts of manual therapy interventions and to demonstrate their knowledge via the completion of assignments, discussion board dialog, and laboratory participation.  The laboratory will be held on the Des Moines University campus over 2 days and will focus on psychomotor skills based on the online course content.  Individuals unable to attend the laboratory may complete an optional assignment if recent laboratory or advanced training in manual therapy is demonstrated.  Learn more about manual therapy intervention exemptions.

PPDPT 1612 – Clinical Imaging – 1.5 semester hours

This course is organized into units covering the technical and interpretive aspects of diagnostic imaging/radiology results related to diagnoses commonly treated by physical therapists. The focus is on the musculoskeletal system including skeletal development and growth. The use of clinical decision rules/guidelines will be incorporated. Additional units address imaging associated with neurological, vascular and pulmonary disorders.

PPDPT 1613 – Pharmacology – 1.5 semester hours

This course introduces the basic principles of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of various drug classes. These principles provide a foundation in understanding the action, adverse effects and clinical usefulness of key drug classes seen in the rehabilitation setting. Instruction combines the use of pharmacology readings and case-based scenarios to illustrate and highlight the relevance of agents to the practice of physical therapy.

PPDPT 1614 – Clinical Medicine Systems I – 2 semester hours

This course addresses some of the underlying aspects of disease processes with an emphasis on differential diagnosis. The effect of immune, endocrine and metabolic disorders on the body’s homeostasis will be a primary focus. An introduction to the role genetics plays in the development of disease and subsequent treatment is included. The use of data obtained from clinical lab and imaging studies in the screening process in order to determine appropriate plans of care is incorporated. Consideration will be given to psychosocial and spiritual beliefs influence on health and illness. This course provides a foundation for the subsequent Clinical Medicine II course.

PPDPT 1615 – Clinical Medicine Systems II – 2 semester hours

This course is the follow-up to Clinical Medicine I. It addresses the pathophysiology and medical management of common conditions that occur in primary organ systems. Content will include etiology, epidemiology, tests and measures, and interventions related to the cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, reproductive and integumentary systems. There will be a focus on understanding the human response to disease and the implications for the physical therapist’s management of patient care.