Inherent requirements for Physiotherapy


These inherent requirements apply to the following courses:

  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (course code 4706)
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) (course code 4707)

The Western Sydney University School of Science and Health (SSH) strongly supports the right of all people to pursue a physiotherapy course.

Introduction

Inherent requirements
Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit, while preserving the academic integrity of the university's learning, assessment and accreditation processes. The inherent requirements are the abilities, knowledge and skills needed to complete the course that must be met by all students.

Students with a disability or chronic health condition may be able to have reasonable adjustments made to enable them to meet these requirements.

The School is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, clinical practice and other activities to enable students' to participate in their course. Reasonable adjustments must not fundamentally change the nature of the inherent requirement. Students are required to undertake activities which reflect the Australian health care context which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments. For further information contact your Director of Academic Program.

Successfully completing the course enables you to apply for registration as a registered physiotherapist with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, which is a partner board of the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority (AHPRA).

To support potential and current students' decision making, a series of inherent requirement statements has been developed. These statements specify the course requirements of the entry level physiotherapy courses for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, communication, cognition, sensory abilities, strength and mobility and sustainable performance.

How to read the inherent requirement statements

If you are intending to enrol in an entry level physiotherapy course at the School of Science and Health, you should look at these inherent requirement statements and think about whether you may experience challenges in meeting these requirements.

If you think you may experience challenges for any reason including a disability or chronic health condition, you should discuss your concerns with physiotherapy staff, such as the Director of Academic Program, Academic Course Advisor or School Disability Coordinator or a Campus Disability Advisor. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine reasonable adjustments to assist you to meet the inherent requirements. In the case where it is determined that inherent requirements cannot be met with reasonable adjustments, the University staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other Western Sydney University course information and the Physiotherapy Board of Australia publications such as the Physiotherapy Code of Conduct, and the Physiotherapy Guidelines for Mandatory notifications (opens in a new window), and the Australian Physiotherapy Council's Australian Standards for Physiotherapy (opens in a new window).

The inherent requirements are made up of the following five components and domains:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of the inherent requirement
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of tasks that show you've met the requirement. These are examples only and are not a comprehensive list.

There are eight domains of inherent requirements in the Physiotherapy courses listed above. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

  • Ethical behaviour
  • Behavioural stability
  • Legal
  • Communication
  • Cognition
  • Sensory abilities
  • Strength & mobility
  • Sustainable performance

Inherent requirement statements

Ethical behaviour


Inherent requirement statements
1 Physiotherapy is a profession that is governed by code of conduct (opens in a new window) and standards (opens in a new window), where physiotherapists are both accountable and responsible for ensuring safe and professional behaviour in all contexts.
2 Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Compliance with the standards, codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they engage. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all

4 Adjustments must ensure the codes and standards are not compromised or result in unethical behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Demonstrate ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of ethical behaviour
» Complying with requirements relating to informed consent, privacy and confidentiality with client information in academic and clinical settings

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Behavioural stability


Inherent requirement statements
1 Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role.
2 Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and clinical environment.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. Physiotherapy students will be exposed to emergency situations and human suffering, and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these events

4 Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Reflecting on practice and responding appropriately to constructive feedback
» Coping with own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in the clinical setting

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Legal

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Communication

This course requires effective, verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills.

Verbal

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe delivery of care.
2 Student demonstrates:
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
» The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner
» The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation
» Timely clear feedback and reporting
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships
» Communication may be restricted to verbal because of limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions)
» Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety or treatment
» Timely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions is critical to individual safety, treatment and management

4 Adjustments must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure appropriate treatment and management. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor. 
5

Exemplars:

» Participating in tutorial discussions and practising verbal communication skills during practical classes
» Establishing rapport with clients during physiotherapy management and responding appropriately to requests from patients, supervisors and other health professionals in the clinical setting

Non-verbal

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to physiotherapy and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non-judgmental.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues
» Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships
» Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships
» Being sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences, displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships
» The ability to observe and understand non -verbal cues is essential for safe and effective observation of patient symptoms and reactions to facilitate the assessment and treatment of patients

4 Adjustments must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Recognising and responding appropriately to cues and activities in classroom situations
» Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in the clinical setting

Written

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental physiotherapy responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.
2 Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to circumstances.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice
» Accurate written communication, including record-keeping and patient notes which meet legal requirements, is vital to provide consistent and safe patient care

4 Adjustments must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and clinical environments. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Constructing an essay to academic standards
» Constructing patient notes, reports and information sheets in a timely manner that meets legal and professional standards

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Cognition

This course requires knowledge of theory and the skills of cognition, literacy and numeracy.

Knowledge and cognitive skills

Inherent requirement statements
1 Consistent knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide safe, effective and timely physiotherapy management.
2 Student demonstrates:
» Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information
» Ability to process information relevant to practice
» Ability to integrate and implement knowledge into practice in a timely manner
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Safe and effective delivery of physiotherapy management is based on comprehensive knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately

4 Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items
» Appropriately applying knowledge of theory, research evidence, policies and procedures in the clinical setting

Literacy (language)

Inherent requirement statements
1 Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective delivery of care.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The ability to acquire information and accurately convey appropriate, effective messages
» Ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information
» The capacity to understand and implement academic conventions to construct written text in a scholarly manner
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and delivery of care
» The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective delivery of care

4 Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Conveying spoken and written messages accurately and effectively in a clinical setting
» Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic conventions in written assignments
» Producing accurate, concise and clear physiotherapy documentation which meets legal requirements

Numeracy

Inherent requirement statements
1 Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for safe and effective physiotherapy management.
2 Student demonstrates the ability to interpret and correctly apply data, measurements and numerical criteria.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Competent application of numeracy skills is essential in physiotherapy to facilitate the safe and effective delivery of physiotherapy care

4 Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to interpret and apply concepts and processes appropriately in a timely, accurate and effective manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Administering accurate electrotherapy dosages
» Recording accurately measurements in patient notes

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Sensory abilities

This course requires adequate visual, auditory and tactile abilities.

Visual

Inherent requirement statements
1 Adequate visual acuity is required to provide safe and effective physiotherapy management.
2 Student demonstrates sufficient visual acuity to perform a range of skills.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient visual acuity to demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks and assessments to maintain consistent, accurate and safe care of self and to others
» Visual observations, examinations and assessment are fundamental to safe and effective physiotherapy practice

4 Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Observing and detecting subtle changes in posture, movement and the ability to perform functional activities during assessment and treatment
» Safely operating electrotherapy equipment

Auditory

Inherent requirement statements
1 Adequate auditory ability is required to provide safe and effective physiotherapy management.
2 Student demonstrates sufficient aural function to undertake the required range of skills.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient auditory ability is necessary to monitor, assess and manage an individual's health needs consistently and accurately
» Auditory assessments and observations are fundamental to safe and effective physiotherapy practice

4 Adjustments must address the need to perform the range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the hearing loss must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment of safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Performing accurately cardiopulmonary assessment by auscultation
» Detecting care requests by calls for help or activation of a call bell

Tactile

Inherent requirement statements
1 Sufficient tactile ability is required to perform competent and safe physiotherapy management.
2 Student demonstrates sufficient tactile function to undertake a range of skills and assessments.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient tactile ability is necessary to monitor, assess and detect patients' physical characteristics and act on any abnormalities detected to provide appropriate physiotherapy management
» Tactile assessments and observations are fundamental to safe and effective physiotherapy practice

4 Adjustments must have the capacity to make effective assessments of physical characteristics and abnormalities within safe time frames. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Detecting changes in circulation, e.g. temperature
» Palpating joints, muscles, and soft tissues to detect anatomical or movement abnormalities

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Strength & mobility

This course requires strength and mobility involving fine and gross motor skills.

Gross motor

Inherent requirement statements
1 Physiotherapy involves physical demands and requires gross motor function.
2 Student demonstrates the ability to perform gross motor skills to function within the scope of practice.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient gross motor skills are necessary to perform, coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve gross motor skills include lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, standing, twisting and bending. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

4 Adjustments must facilitate functional effectiveness, safety of self and others and a capacity to provided appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Maintaining own and client's balance, while providing client support, when transferring and mobilising individuals in a safe manner
» Evaluating clients, in a safe and effective manner, who have varying physical capacity, when positioning on plinths and hospital beds, mats on the floor, on chairs and when standing

Fine motor

Inherent requirement statements
1 Physiotherapy is a profession that requires manual dexterity and fine motor skills.
2 Student demonstrated ability to use fine motor skills to provide safe effective care.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient fine motor skills are necessary to coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve fine motor skills include being able to grasp, press, push, turn, squeeze and manipulate various objects and individuals. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

4 Adjustments must facilitate functional effectiveness, safety to self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Performing assessment techniques, e.g. evaluation of hand sensation and joint movement
» Performing treatment techniques, e.g. suctioning, joint mobilisation and soft tissue massage

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Sustainable performance


Inherent requirement statements
1 Physiotherapy practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level.
2 Student demonstrates:
» Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time
» The ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately
» The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective care

4 Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Participating in tutorials and lectures
» Providing consistent physiotherapy management over a negotiated time frame

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*Developed from: Johnson, A., Allan,T., Phillips,K., Azzopardi,T., Dickson,C., Goldsmith,M & Hengstberger-Sims, C. (2011). Inherent Requirements of Nursing Education (IRONE), Western Sydney University School of Nursing & Midwifery and Student Equity & Disability Services


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