The physical therapy scope of practice does encompass the relationship of professional, jurisdictional, and personal scope of practice, but it is not a laundry list of activities. This was the conclusion of the task force that developed and presented a definition of the term "scope of practice" that the Board adopted during its April meeting. Noting that "while professional scope of practice is broad, actual scope of practice is unique for each individual," the statements supporting the definition indicate that it is intended to clarify APTA’s role and guide the association in leading and responding to scope of practice inquiries.
Per the adopted DEFINITION OF THE TERM SCOPE OF PRACTICE AND CLARIFICATION OF ASSOCIATION ROLE:
Scope of practice has 3 components: Professional, jurisdictional, and personal.
Of note is that the Scope of Practice Task Force agreed that such a definition should not include a list of activities, as it would be hard to maintain an accurate and inclusive list. The task force also concluded that a further exploration of the definition of the physical therapist’s professional scope of practice in particular (as opposed to the term “scope of practice”) as determined by the House of Delegates is needed. This Board position can be forwarded to the House as part of that discussion.
The task force additionally pointed to the physical therapist’s role in the health care system, which was beyond its charge but in need of broad-based, forward-thinking approaches that can evolve as health care systems do. The task force suggested looking beyond the United States to international colleagues with experience and expertise.
Inquiries about whether new or emerging areas are part of the physical therapy scope of practice will be addressed by a staff-guided review process that the Board adopted along with the definition.
To see the full discussion on this and other topics from the April Board of Directors meeting, watch the archived livestream of all open sessions.
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