Physical Therapy Student Issues

Physical Therapy Programs and Disciplinary Charges 

Don't let disciplinary charges discourage you from pursuing and completing your physical therapy education. Don't forget the value and rewards of your career dreams. You chose a laudable career goal when you decided to pursue a career in physical therapy. Physical therapy helps people regain critical functions. Physical therapy restores lives. Physical therapists see directly how their applied labors improve their patients' strength, mobility, and mental outlook. Physical therapists can also often control their own schedules, without the emergencies of other healthcare fields. Physical therapists can also form positive, long-lasting relationships with patients who benefit from their services. For these and other reasons, U.S. News ranks physical therapy as a top ten healthcare field, where physical therapists not only earn a $91,010 median salary but also have abundant opportunities offered by the growing field. Disciplinary charges can be frightening, discouraging, and depressing. But avoid the impostor syndrome, where you stop believing in your ability to become a qualified physical therapist. Don't let disciplinary charges distract you from your dream. Instead, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you defend and defeat those charges so that you can pursue and achieve your physical therapy goal and realize your career ambition and life's dream. 

Defending Your Investment and Return on Investment  

No matter how far you have progressed through your physical therapy program, you have invested substantial time, effort, and money in your physical therapy education and future career. Your undergraduate program preparing you for your doctorate in physical therapy program was only your initial investment. Your admission to your physical therapy program and commencement of that program required additional time, effort, and tuition commitments. If you have progressed well into the program, you have made further sacrifices and financial commitments. Those substantial outlays don't even reflect the earnings you have given up to get as far as you have. Students attending college and graduate programs could instead be working and earning income. Tuition is only part of the cost. Forgone earnings are the hidden costs. In short, you have invested substantially in your physical therapy program, an investment that should produce substantial returns for you. Don't let disciplinary charges destroy your investment. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you protect your investment in a physical therapy degree and career. 

The American Physical Therapy Association, including biology, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, clinical reasoning, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic, and musculoskeletal, has given you a vast and powerful knowledge base from which to do much good in the world. You may also have begun your clinical curriculum, typically comprising about twenty percent of a physical therapy program, where you are gaining confidence that you can deploy your powerful knowledge base effectively. Chances are good that your desire to finish your education is increasing with each day. Keep at it. Good things come to those who persist. 

Physical Therapy Program Challenges 

Students face appropriate challenges. Growth only comes with challenges. Physical therapy programs can be especially challenging, the traditional curriculum includes challenging biology, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, clinical reasoning, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic, and musculoskeletal courses. Life, death, and healing are critically important. Physical therapy programs thus have rigorous professional standards for students to meet. Standardized tests aligned to licensing exams present their own special challenges, as do the many weeks of clinical education satisfying each supervisor of your competence and fitness. If everything went as planned, you'd surely complete your physical therapy studies without a serious stumble. But things seldom go as planned. Students suffer illnesses, injuries, family crises like the death of a loved one, relationship breakups, housing loss, transportation loss, financial issues, and a host of similar life challenges. Those challenges affect studies, leading to withdrawals from courses, lower grades, failing grades, and terms off from study. Other challenges can arise leading to the school's accusation of academic, behavioral, or sexual misconduct. Physical therapy's hands-on practice, for instance, can lead to mistaken allegations of inappropriate sexual contact. If you face a disciplinary proceeding in your physical therapy program, appreciate that it can be another navigable challenge. Just be sure to get the help you need. 

Don't Face Disciplinary Charges Alone 

Don't attempt to navigate disciplinary charges on your own. As a physical therapy student, you are training to join a profession. Professionals learn to get the professional help they need when facing special problems. If your physical therapy program has alleged your misconduct of any of the following types, and you face probation, suspension, or dismissal from your physical therapy program, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to defend and defeat those charges: 

  • Academic misconduct including cheating, plagiarism, multiple submissions, unauthorized collaboration, and copyright violations; 
  • Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) due to course incompletes or withdrawals, low or failing grades, below-minimum grade point average, too few credits per term, or too many terms off; 
  • Behavioral misconduct such as alcohol or drug abuse, violence or threats of violence, theft, trespass, computer misuse, disobeying school directives, drunk driving, or other endangering crimes on or off campus; 
  • Title IX or non-Title IX sexual misconduct including sexual assault, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and other sexual wrongs; and 
  • Professional misconduct such as clinical errors or incompetence, patient abuse, patient neglect, disrespect toward or offense of colleagues, too many absences, and other professional wrongs. 

Academic Misconduct Charges 

Academic misconduct occurs in physical therapy programs, just as it does in other educational programs. A National Institutes of Health study of academic dishonesty in physical therapy programs showed similar misconduct rates to other programs. But the same study also showed that physical therapy professors and students differ on what constitutes academic misconduct. Students, apparently, are more willing to help their peers than professors believe academic standards allow. Unfair professor evaluations, unreasonable school pressures to perform, and the perception that other students are routinely engaging in study and test methods that cut corners and professors would condemn, contribute to academic misconduct charges. Yet physical therapy programs definitely define and prohibit academic misconduct, subjecting students to discipline for various forms of cheating. A physical therapy syllabus at the University of Central Florida, for example, lists these forms of academic misconduct: 

  • Unauthorized assistance, using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids; 
  • Communicating to another material that the student has not studied or learned but instead obtained through someone else's efforts and used as part of an examination, course assignment, or project; 
  • Selling course material to another person or student, or uploading course material to a third-party vendor, without express written permission of the university and the instructor, including class notes, instructor slide shows, course syllabi, tests, quizzes, labs, instruction sheets, homework, study guides, or handouts; 
  • Falsifying or misrepresenting the student's own academic work; 
  • Plagiarism, using or appropriating another's work without any indication of the source, attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student's own; 
  • Multiple submissions of the same academic work for credit without the instructor's express written permission; or 
  • Helping another violate the above academic behavior standards. 

Challenging Academic Misconduct Charges 

Physical therapy programs don't always get their academic misconduct charges right. Schools can charge the wrong student for academic misconduct that, in fact, occurred at the hands of a different student. They can also charge students for conduct that does not, in fact, violate the academic conduct code. And as the above study showed, physical therapy students may have mitigating circumstances to show, when they have engaged in a study practice that their physical therapy program holds is academic misconduct. If you face academic misconduct charges in your physical therapy program, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend and defeat those charges. Attorney Lento knows how to work with school officials to resolve misconduct allegations in ways that preserve the student's education and clean record. 

Behavioral Misconduct 

Physical therapy programs don't just have academic standards. They also maintain behavioral codes, the violation of which can jeopardize a student's physical therapy education. University behavioral codes can be broad, encompassing a host of activities that a physical therapy student might think wouldn't affect the student's education. Duke University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program, for instance, incorporates the university-wide Student Conduct and Community Standards. Those standards address behavioral misconduct relating to: 

  • Alcohol and drug use and abuse; 
  • Classroom disruption; 
  • Disorderly conduct; 
  • Failure to comply with university directives; 
  • Falsification or fraud relating to university documents; 
  • Fire alarms and safety equipment; 
  • Gambling; 
  • Harassment and hazing; 
  • Noise violations; 
  • Fighting and endangerment; 
  • Pickets, protests, and demonstrations; 
  • Damage to or destruction of property; 
  • Theft and receiving stolen goods; 
  • Unauthorized surveillance; and 
  • Weapons possession or explosives possession. 

Challenging Behavioral Misconduct Charges 

If you face behavioral misconduct charges in your physical therapy program, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend and defeat those charges. Attorney Lento knows how to discover and present exonerating and mitigating evidence that can lead to the early dismissal of the charge, preserving your physical therapy career ambitions. Behavioral misconduct findings can lead to academic dismissal. Don't let false, unfair, or exaggerated charges interrupt and derail your physical therapy education. Retain the skilled and experienced school defense attorney you need to defend and defeat those charges. 

Sexual Misconduct 

Physical contact with patients is necessary for much physical therapy. Physical therapy can require the therapist to touch, bend, stretch, and massage limbs, torso, neck, and other areas of the body. The close and repeated physical touching of therapy can confuse and alarm patients who misunderstand and misconstrue that professional contact as if it were intimate sexual contact. Health organizations caution patients not to misunderstand that touching, as in this article. But healthcare organizations also encourage patients to report suspected physical therapist sexual misconduct. One study shows that eighty percent of physical therapists experience patient sexual comments, advances, or invitations. Sexual misconduct allegations are a big risk for physical therapists and physical therapy students. 

Sexual Misconduct Codes 

Physical therapy programs must maintain sexual misconduct codes to comply with federal Title IX requirements. Those codes prohibit sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. They also prohibit sexual harassment of either the quid pro quo or hostile environment kind. School policies often extend those sexual misconduct prohibitions beyond Title IX. School policies may, for instance, prohibit sexual exploitation such as voyeurism, sexting, blackmail using sexual images, and deliberate transmission of sexual disease. The University of Delaware's top-ranked physical therapy program, for example, requires students to comply with the university-wide Non-Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Title IX Policy. Physical therapy students at the University of Delaware and other schools risk sexual misconduct charges for a wide variety of suspicious touching and other easily misunderstood actions. 

Challenging Sexual Misconduct Charges 

If you face sexual misconduct charges in your physical therapy program, whether Title IX charges or non-Title IX charges, national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is available to help you defend and defeat those charges. Sexual misconduct findings cripple the educational program and careers of physical therapists and other healthcare workers who deal so closely with their vulnerable patients. Don't let false, exaggerated, unsupported, or unfair sexual misconduct charges derail your physical therapy education. Retain a skilled and experienced school defense attorney, not an unqualified local criminal defense attorney, to defend and defeat those charges. 

Professionalism Codes 

Physical therapy program professionalism codes and policies add to the physical therapy student's discipline risks. The physical therapy student who offends, injures, or neglects a patient, offends or disrespects a colleague, or disrupts a clinical practice's operations can face professionalism misconduct charges. For example, Philadelphia's the University of the Sciences, for instance, maintains in its physical therapy student handbook a professionalism policy incorporating the Code of Ethics of the American Physical Therapy Association. Violations of the Association's Code of Ethics can lead to misconduct charges at the university. The Association's Code of Ethics includes these professionalism principles: 

  • Physical therapists shall respect the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals; 
  • Physical therapists shall be trustworthy and compassionate in addressing the rights and needs of patients and clients; 
  • Physical therapists shall be accountable for making sound professional judgments; 
  • Physical therapists shall demonstrate integrity in their relationships with patients and clients, families, colleagues, students, research participants, other health care providers, employers, payors, and the public; 
  • Physical therapists shall fulfill their legal and professional obligations; 
  • Physical therapists shall promote organizational behaviors and business practices that benefit patients, clients, and society; 
  • Physical therapists shall participate in efforts to meet the health needs of people locally, nationally, or globally. 

Defending Professionalism Charges 

Clinical education can be fraught with risks for the physical therapy student, not even of the student's own making. Subjective evaluations, demands that the student cannot possibly meet, and misunderstandings over assignments, duties, and conduct can contribute to false, unfair, and unsupported professional misconduct charges. If you face professionalism misconduct charges in your physical therapy program, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend and defeat those charges. Don't let unfair or exaggerated demands and expectations undermine your physical therapy education. Get the skilled and experienced attorney representation you need for a winning defense. 

Misconduct Procedures 

Your physical therapy program will offer you protective procedures enabling you to challenge disciplinary charges. The University of Southern California's Student Conduct Code procedures, applicable to students in the school's top-rated physical therapy program, are a good example. Those procedures provide for notice to the accused student of the details of the charges, an investigation interview of the accused student, comment on the investigation report, informal resolution opportunities, formal hearing for charges that do not resolve, and opportunities to review, challenge, and rebut the school's evidence, and appeals of adverse decisions. Those protective procedures can make the difference in defending and defeating false or unfair disciplinary charges. 

Invoking Disciplinary Procedures 

Protective procedures are not self-executing. The physical therapy student facing discipline must affirmatively invoke and strategically deploy those procedures if they are to make a difference in a successful outcome. If you don't follow procedures, and if instead you ignore the charges or delay your response to them, you may lose your misconduct proceeding and suffer sanctions up to and including dismissal, even if the charges are false, unfair, and unsupported. Retaining a skilled and experienced school defense attorney relieves you of the concern for finding, following, and effectively using your school's misconduct procedures. College and university students, even bright physical therapy students pursuing doctoral programs, don't generally have knowledge, skill, and experience relating to dispute-resolution procedures, administrative law, investigation procedures, the presentation of evidence, analysis and impeachment of the other side's evidence, argumentation and advocacy, or the negotiation skills that often lead to early successful resolution. Get the help you need to defend and defeat misconduct charges. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to defend and defeat those charges. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements 

To satisfy federal student loan regulations, physical therapy programs must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policies. SAP policies ensure that schools do not charge students tuition, and receive federal student loan proceeds, relating to students who won't graduate, license, and enter the field. Physical therapy programs must be rigorous, meeting standards promoted by organizations like the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy. Northwestern University's physical therapy program's SAP policy, for instance, requires a 3.00 grade-point average, two-thirds of all courses attempted completed, and graduation within a specified time. Your school is no exception. The American Physical Therapy Association's Academy of Education, promoting rigor in physical therapy programs, warns those programs not to fail to fail underperforming physical therapy students.  

Challenging SAP Sanctions 

Physical therapy programs and other schools make mistakes interpreting and applying their SAP policies. Schools treat some students who are in good standing as if they were not. And even in those cases where a student falls below the school's SAP standards, schools have federal regulatory authority to relieve a student from SAP dismissal if the student can demonstrate, through an SAP appeal, extenuating circumstances. If you face SAP dismissal in your physical therapy program, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to represent you. SAP appeals require documentation, analysis, and argumentation of the type that a skilled and experienced school defense attorney knows. Get the help you need to preserve your physical therapy education.  

Premier National School Defense Attorney 

If you face misconduct charges or academic progress issues in your physical therapy program, know that you can challenge, defend, and defeat false, unfair, or exaggerated misconduct charges. Get the help you need to correct erroneous or unfair school allegations of unsatisfactory academic progress, or to show extenuating circumstances excusing your academic issues and giving you an achievable plan to resolve those issues. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense. Attorney Lento has successfully represented hundreds of students nationwide in all sorts of programs, including physical therapy programs. Attorney Lento has the knowledge, skills, and academic administrative experience to put your school's procedures to your best strategic use. Get the best available legal representation to preserve your physical therapy education. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now, or use the online service. 

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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