Clinical Education Policies and Procedures

Students participating in clinical education experiences are required to follow and know these policies and procedures.


Absence due to illness: Students are expected to be in good health when participating in clinical experiences. If a student is ill, they are expected to notify the clinical site (SCCE and or CI) at the earliest time possible. When reasonable to arrange, students are expected to make up missed clinical time (specific absence questions may be directed to the DCEs). Please record absences on the student's evaluation form.

Students are expected to call in sick if they have:
Fever greater than 100 degrees
Acute febrile upper respiratory infection including Group A
Streptococcal Infection
Vomiting or diarrhea (Hepatitis, Norovirus)
Herpes Simplex (restriction from caring for high risk patients until on treatment for 48 hours)
Skin disorder such as a rash (Varicella, Scabies, Strep, Measles, Rubella)
Pertussis, Measles, Mumps
Draining abscesses, boils, impetigo
Conjunctivitis (eye which is swollen, pink, itchy, crusty)
Symptoms associated with COVID-19 per CDC

Other: The Clinical Education Office advises that if the student has any reason that his/her attention cannot be given fully to providing safe and effective patient care, they should not participate in the clinical experience during that time.

Scheduled absence: Students are expected to attend all scheduled days of their clinical experience/internship. Students are not to schedule vacations during their clinical experiences or internships. Official start/end dates will only be altered at the request of the clinical site. A student who feels they have a valid reason to request scheduling a day away from the clinic should first contact the DCE to discuss it prior to contacting the SCCE.

Any scheduled day off is expected to be made up. It is the student's responsibility to work with their CI to arrange the make up at a time convenient to the CI and clinic. The program encourages students to job interview during allotted travel weeks which are scheduled between internships. Please record absences and days made up on the student's evaluation.

Regarding return to work policy, students are required to follow the clinical facility guidelines and their primary care provider recommendations.

Abuse Checks

Criminal Background Check and Abuse Checks

Students accepted into the professional program receive information about the criminal background check process during orientation (May prior to fall semester). Early in the first fall semester students are provided with consent forms for background check and abuse registries checks (child abuse and dependent adult abuse) which are completed by a professional vendor. Students are responsible for cost of the checks.

Several clinical education sites require an FBI fingerprinting and background check or specific state background check. These would be initiated when the student is confirmed for a clinical education experience. In some cases the clinical site covers the cost; in most cases the student is responsible for the cost.

Academic Standing

Students are required to be in good academic standing in order to participate in clinical experiences and internships.

Good academic standing means the student has completed all course work satisfactorily, and is anticipated to have at least a 3.0/4.0 grade point average at graduation.

The Clinical Education Office will issue required documentation of academic standing as may be requested by clinical sites.

Contact the Student

Contact information for students (email and cell phone numbers) will be provided by the student as part of their Student Profile.

Students email their form to the SCCE five weeks prior to the clinical start date. If the clinical site would like student contact information at an earlier date, please contact Kristin Ryan, DPT, DCE at or (563) 333-5890.

Additional contact information for the DCEs or Clinical Education Office, see the Clinical Education page.

CPR Certification

Students are required to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the Healthcare Provider Level for all clinical education experiences and internships.

The program provides an opportunity for students to certify during the program. Certification completed at this time will remain current through the routine date of the final internship for the graduating class.

Criminal Background Check

Students accepted into the professional program receive information about the criminal background check process during orientation (May prior to fall semester).

During orientation students complete consent forms for running the background check of the past seven years; these are completed by a professional vendor. Students are responsible for this cost. Should a clinical site require a background check more recent than the first fall semester, the cost of rerunning the background check is not covered by the initial student payment. Several clinical education sites require an FBI fingerprinting and background check or a specific state background check. These would be initiated when the student is confirmed for a clinical education experience. In some cases the clinical site covers the cost; in most cases the student is responsible for the cost.

The Criminal Background Check Package for PT students includes:
1. Social Security Number validation
2. 7- year County Criminal Records Search
3. Nationwide Database Search with Sex Offender Registry
4. Iowa Child and Adult Abuse Check
5. Healthcare Fraud & Abuse
6. Residency History

Disability Accommodations

The St. Ambrose Accessibility Resource Center provides guidance to the academic faculty and DCEs related to reasonable student accommodations.

Should a student be eligible for and request accommodations, the student would be directed by the DCE to disclose this to the site. The DCE will assist in such notification with the student's release. Accommodations in the clinical environment would only be requested for the student who is working with the ARC.

Dress Code

Students are expected to refer to the CSIF and email communication from their clinical site for the site-specific dress code.

If the clinical site has concerns related to the student's appearance, they are expected to inform the student of what would be acceptable; the site may then consider providing more dress code specifics in the CSIF.

Students, SCCEs, or CIs with questions, may check with the DCEs for further clarification.

Drug Screen

The professional program does not require routine student drug screens. If the clinical site requires a drug screen, they are to inform St. Ambrose of the requirement and related details. The Clinical Site Information Form (CSIF) may be used to share this requirement.

The details should include the number of panels (substances), within what time limits, if the test needs to be run at a SAMHSA lab, or if the clinical site will perform the testing (and who would be responsible for the cost).

If a student is expected to have a drug screen at their expense prior to the clinical, please note that on the CSIF so the student will be prepared. All students are expected to agree to a drug screen should there be reason to request such during the clinical experience (in this case it is anticipated the cost would be covered by the clinical site.)


Grades for clinical education courses (Pass or No Pass) are awarded by the DCEs who triangulate the CI's written Student Performance Evaluation (for two- and three-week clinical experiences) and electronic Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) (for eight- and ten-week internships), communications with the CI and student, as well as program expectations.

Clinical Instructors are encouraged to contact the Clinical Education Office at earliest indication that a student may have deficient knowledge and skills or professional behaviors which put them at risk of failing the experience. The DCEs will provide support to both the CI and student who are concerned about successfully meeting the goals of the clinical experience or internship.

Health Insurance

Students are required to carry personal health insurance when clinical experiences and internships.

Students will carry current documentation (insurance card) to each clinical experience. Students are expected to keep their policy information up to date with the Clinical Education Office as well as on Castlebranch.


Students are responsible for arranging housing and covering the cost.

Students greatly appreciate sites that offer housing at a student-friendly cost, a housing contact person, or list of potential rental facilities. Please use the Clinical Site Information Form (CSIF) to indicate what your site may offer, or contact the Clinical Education Office with suggestions which may be shared with students.

In addition, students may ask the SCCE if they would be willing to post a flyer (which the student creates) explaining there is a graduate student needing temporary housing, etc. Students will appreciate any effort made by the SCCE to post their flyer in their facility, other local medical facilities, local coffee houses or churches.

It is recommended students contact the SAU Alumni office for additional housing resources in the requested clinical location.


The student's immunization history (expected to include MMR, Varicella, Tdap,Hep B, and seasonal flu) is recorded on the St. Ambrose Health Form which is on file in the student's Castlebranch account.

The program requires students to have a two-step TB test prior to entering the program, followed by annual one-step TB tests until graduation. The Quantiferon test is also accepted as documentation of TB immunity status (including latent TB infection). Positive responders will be required to provide an annual normal chest film and Tuberculosis Screening Questionnaire. Clinical sites may require additional immunizations or titers both of which may be listed on the Clinical Site Information Form (CSIF). If there are questions about the specifics the Clinical Education Office will contact the site for clarification.


In the event of an onset of illness or injury of a student during clinical assignment, appropriate emergency care will be provided to the student by the AFFILIATED INSTITUTION.

The student, or applicable insurer, will be liable for the cost of such care unless such care is required due to the fault or negligence of AFFILIATED INSTITUTION.


Certificate of Insurance (COI)

The Clinical Education Office will provide the current COI to active clinical sites; send request to or

Liability Insurances Provided by the University:
1. Student professional liability insurance @ 2 million/occurrence and 4/million aggregate.
2. General liability insurance @1million/occurrence and 3/million aggregate.
3. Workers' compensation for students on clinical experiences or internships in Colorado.

Student Health Insurance:
Students are required to have personal health insurance when on clinical experiences and internships. The Clinical Education Office routinely checks for changes or lapses in health insurance coverage.

Job Interviews

Students are advised not to schedule job interviews during scheduled clinical time. Students have a travel week prior to and following each internship during which time students may interview without interruption of the internship.

If the clinical site at which the student is completing their internship wishes to interview the student during the internship dates, that may be arranged with consent of the Site Coordinator for Clinical Education (SCCE) or Clinical Instructor (CI); the student would be expected to assume responsibility for arranging for coverage of their caseload.

Learning Style

Students in the program complete a Myer-Briggs Preference Inventory (Learning Style Inventory) during the first semester of the program and participate in a large group session focusing on students understanding their own learning style, appreciating the strengths of different learning styles, and the benefits of venturing from their preferred learning style.

Students include a short blurb on their Student Profile form, sharing their learning style, preferences on instruction and feedback in the clinic.

Mid-Term Calls

Midway through the eight- and ten-week internships, the CI and student will receive a call from the student's faculty advisor to check in on the status of the internship.

Students will come to their internship site with a prearranged mid-term call time chosen by their advisor (to work with their teaching schedule and other student calls). The student will ask the CI if the assigned time is workable or if it needs to be adjusted to be convenient for the CI. If the time needs to changed, the student is responsible for contacting their advisor and arranging a time agreeable to all.

Students are responsible for providing the information for the call (phone number with area code, CI's full name, confirmed date and time of the call) to the Clinical Education Office. Students and CIs need to check that time zone changes have been considered, and if the call is to be made over the lunch hour to provide a phone number which will be answered by a person.

The faculty advisor provides a summary of the call to the Clinical Education Office. DCEs will follow up as may be appropriate. CIs are encouraged to contact the Clinical Education Office at any time if they have questions or concerns prior to or following the mid-term call

Participation Requirements

Program requirements for participation in clinical experiences:

1. Completion of prerequisite coursework
2. Physical exam upon entry to the graduate program
3. Immunization history and completion of the university Student Health Form
4. MMR Immunization - 2 vaccinations or positive titers
5. Varicella/Chicken Pox vaccine or positive titer
6. TDaP vaccination or TD booster within 10 years
7. Seasonal flu vaccine
8. Hepatitis B series
9. Two-step TB test as first-year student, followed by annual one-step TB tests until graduation.
10. Criminal background check including abuse checks
11. Training in OSHA bloodborne pathogens, universal precautions, tuberculosis education, HIPAA regulations, and Medicare reimbursement for student services
12. Current BLS Provider CPR certification at Healthcare Provider
13. Personal Health Insurance
14. Mandatory reporter training for Dependent Adult and Child Abuse (DPT582)
15. Student Consent and Disease Statement

Requirements will be provided by the student or DCE to the clinical site as needed.  This information will be sent confidentially by the DCE or shared by the student via their Castlebranch account.  Students will comply with known additional requirements of your facility. Please include the requirements on the Clinical Site Information Form, or in student orientation materials you may provide to the DCE or student.

Physical Examination

Students are required to have a physical exam by their healthcare provider and to complete the St. Ambrose University Health Form upon entry to the professional program.

The physical exam completed upon entry to the program, including updating of immunizations, meets the program's requirement for physical exam. Individual clinical sites may require the physical exam to be more current (with respect to the time of the student's participation in clinical experiences at their facility); students will be informed of and are expected to meet the site's specific requirement.

Pre-Clinical Trainings

During the first semester of the program, students receive training in Bloodborne Pathogens/Standard Precautions (OSHA), HIPAA regulations, transmission based precautions, tuberculosis precautions, and Medicare Reimbursement for Student Services.  Students are educated about patient rights, including the right to refuse treatment by a student.

Students are required to pass quizzes demonstrating understanding of these topics prior to DPT 580, 680 and 780, and prior to beginning DPT 781, 782, 784. Students carry documentation to each clinical experience that they have completed these trainings.

Professional Behaviors

The St. Ambrose PT Program values positive professional behaviors (generic abilities) and works with students to accurately self-assess and strengthen their professional behaviors throughout the program.

Credit is given to Warren May at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Gwneth Straker at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, and Lynn Foord-May at Simmons College for the publication Spring 1995 in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education, Development of a Model for Ability-Based Assessment in Physical Therapy Education.

More information on professional behaviors can be obtained by contacting the Clinical Education Office. The DCEs appreciate early identification of student behaviors which are of concern to the CI in order that a mentoring/remediation plan may be implemented to the advantage of the student.


Faculty members will routinely provide references for a student if the student has asked the faculty's permission to do so.

If the student has not requested that the faculty member serve as a reference, the faculty will decline for that reason.

Student Profile

Students send their Student Profile to the SCCE four to five weeks prior to the clinical start date. The profile includes student contact information, the time and place student plans to arrive on the first day, a listing of clinical experiences completed to date, and short narratives on student learning style, receiving feedback, student strengths, student areas to strengthen.

Student Profile Form (.doc)


In appreciation for hosting students for clinical experiences and/or internships, the Clinical Education Office annually thanks facilities which have accepted a student during the year by sending a voucher for continuing education offerings sponsored by the St. Ambrose PT Program or the Iowa Clinical Education Consortium.

Vouchers are good for three years, but early registration for courses is encouraged as the number of vouchers accepted per course may be limited. The current schedule of continuing education offerings is posted on the St. Ambrose PT Continuing Education webpage.

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