Professionalism for the Physical Therapist
Definition of Professionalism:
"Physical therapists consistently demonstrate core values by aspiring to and wisely applying principles of altruism, excellence, caring, ethics, respect, communication and accountability, and by working together with other professionals to achieve optimal health and wellness in individuals and communities1." (Stern DT. Measuring Medical Professionalism. Oxford University Press. New York, NY, 2006:19.)
Core Values for the Physical Therapist:
In 2018, the House of Delegates adopted the Core Values for the Physical Therapist (.pdf) HOD P06‐18‐25‐33 [Initial: HOD P05‐07‐19‐19; Formerly Titled: Core Values: Endorsement] [Position]. The Position provides that the physical therapist is guided by a set of 7 core values, as stated in the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist (.pdf): accountability, altruism, compassion and caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility. The Position also provides definitions for these core values.
Values-Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant
In 2018, the House of Delegates adopted the Values-Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant (.pdf) HOD P06-18-26-34 [Position]. The Position provides that the values-based behaviors for the physical therapist assistant are altruism, compassion and caring, continuing competence, duty, integrity, physical therapist-physical therapist assistant collaboration, responsibility, and social responsibility. The Position also provides definitions for these values-based behaviors.
Professionalism Education & Development
Self-Assess Your Professional Excellence
Identify your professionalism strengths and areas for growth based on the APTA Core Values Self-Assessment, then access links to those core values and related APTA guidelines, courses, and more to help you improve your professionalism.
Patient Survey: Questions for Patients to Assess Their Physical Therapist's Professionalism (.doc)
The intent of this tool is to assist the assessment of a physical therapist's professionalism as perceived by a patient.
Professionalism Online Course Series
Available via the Learning Center, these instructional courses incorporate reflective questions, case situations, discussion board, and assessment questions. The first 3 modules are a prerequisite for completing the advanced clinical instructor education and credentialing program and are free to members.
Online Course: Information on APTA's Revised Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant
The revised Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist (.pdf) now addresses the five roles of the PT (clinician, administrator, educator, researcher, and consultant), the core values of the profession, and the multiple realms of ethical action. The revised Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant (.pdf) more fully address the roles of the PTA in all areas of physical therapy and the multiple realms of ethical action. This online course provides a brief history of ethics in physical therapy, discusses the rationale for revising the Code and Standards, and examines the revised Code and Standards in detail.
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