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Physical Therapy Clinical Education

Physical Therapy Clinical Education Program

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Omaha and Phoenix – Two Programs, One Creighton

The Creighton University clinical education experience is rooted in the development of clinical reasoning skills, the application of theory and general principles and providing optimal care to enhance patient movement and function with compassion and competence.

Experiential learning is a fundamental strength of Creighton University.  In addition to structured laboratory activities within the classroom, students participate in community-based activities and events geared toward health promotion and prevention right after beginning the program in Omaha or Phoenix.  This experience is then extended to four full-time professional practice clinical education experiences for a total of 44 weeks of experiential education, providing ample opportunities to learn in the field. 

We offer hundreds of experiences across the United States, and our clinical education faculty on each campus work closely with you to determine what opportunities best fit your educational and professional goals.


100% Employed

A Robust Educational Experience Guided by Expert Clinicians

Our clinical instructors that serve students from Omaha and Phoenix campuses, all of whom meet the APTA Guidelines for Clinical Education, effectively guide students through their actions and decision-making.

Over 400 Clinical Affiliations
Affiliation Locations

Each student in Omaha and Phoenix will work with their Clinical Education Advisor to develop a comprehensive Clinical Education Plan in accordance with the:

  1. Mission, Purposes and Program Outcomes of the Department of Physical Therapy
  2. Conceptual Orientation of Physical Therapy Clinical Education at Creighton University
  3. Evaluative Criteria for the Accreditation of Education Programs for the Preparation of Physical Therapists
  4. APTA Guide to Physical Therapist Practice


Each individualized Clinical Education Plan will include the student’s goals and mission statement for the clinical education program as well as specific objectives for each clinical experience. Each student will choose clinical education experiences that meet a breadth and depth of clinical experience, preparing students for entry-level practice.

Integrated Professional Practice Experiences

The first formal clinical experience will occur at the end of the third semester in PTD 560 Professional Practice I. This is a 6-week, full-time clinical education experience where students will demonstrate competence in basic assessment skills including communication and application of ethics, comprehensive screening examinations, fundamental physical therapy procedures and simple application of a clinical reasoning model.

A second clinical experience, PTD 670 Professional Practice II, occurs at the end of the fifth semester and is a 6-week experience. Students should now be able to know where to begin with complex patient cases and identify an analysis and decision-making process. By the end of the second year, we expect students to have the basic tools to begin entry-level practice, but still need experience and development in several areas.

These early clinical experiences are designed to be intensive rather than extensive.  A central component of these experiences will be thoughtful analysis about the overall experience as well as competence in the skills associated with each area of clinical practice.

Final Professional Practice Experiences 

In the third year, students will complete a 16-week practice experience (PTD 680) in the fall and a 16-week practice experience (PTD 690) the following spring. Students are directly involved in the formulation/design of these experiences which emphasize not only integration of patient care activities, but aspects of supervision, management, patient education, teaching and consultation. These experiences are designed to develop students into entry level clinicians. For several students, a portion of these experiences may not be directly related to patient care but may take them to other field-based settings nationally or internationally (Directed Practice Experiences).

A Focus on Expertise and Career Success

The Professional Directed Practice Experience is a special clinical education endeavor, typically four to six weeks in length, which is individually tailored to your goals. You may choose a specialized area of clinical practice, teaching, research, administration, or other areas of focused advanced study.

Students may choose to participate in a four-week clinical education program in the Dominican Republic, referred to as the ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) program. This experience allows students to provide professional service to under-served populations at clinical sites in Santiago while supervised by faculty members from Omaha or Phoenix and U.S. licensed physical therapists.

To see more information on our international learning opportunities, please click here.

Access the following forms and guidelines by clicking on the links:

Rights and Privileges for CCCEs and CIs

The rights and privileges of clinical education faculty are focused primarily on education. The APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program Level 1 and Level 2 are offered at discounted rates to SCCEs and CIs. Clinical sites who offer clinical experiences in a specific calendar year are also offered the privilege of access tour Health Sciences library resources, including access to many peer reviewed journals. Other rights and responsibilities related to participation in Creighton’s Clinical Education program are outlined in the site agreement.

Please contact the Director of Clinical Education in Omaha, Laura Plum at or Kimberly Somers, the Director of Clinical Education in Phoenix, at for more information about specific Physical Therapy Continuing Education courses.

Omaha Contact Info

Lauren Plum, PT, DPT, OCS
Director of Clinical Education – Omaha
Assistant Professor

Phoenix Contact Info

Kimberly Somers, PT, DPT, OCS
Director of Clinical Education – Phoenix
Assistant Professor