Basic Patient Care Skills Syllabus for 2021-2022
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PTHA-1405-001 Basic Patient Care Skills


Corequisite: PTHA 1301, PTHA 1413 and BIOL 2401

Course Description

The application of basic patient handling, functional skills, communication and selected data collection techniques.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(4 sem hrs; 3 lec, 4 lab)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information



  • Fairchild S. Principles & Techniques of Patient Care, 6th ed. Elsevier. 2018.


  • Bircher W. Documentation for the Physical Therapist Assistant, 5th ed. F.A. Davis. 2018 

ISBN 9780803661141

  • Observational Gait Analysis, Ranchos Los Amigos Research and Education Institute. 2002

ISBN 0-9676335-1-6



ADDITIONAL SUPPLES:  Student Basic Skills Kit (recommended) including BP cuff, stethoscope, goniometers, gait belts, measuring tape, stopwatch

Student Performance

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The application of basic patient handling, functional skills, communication and selected data collection techniques.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This course is designed to give the skills needed to build a foundation of knowledge upon which more advanced skills may be added as the student progresses in the program. The course also provides nursing care skills as applicable to the physical therapy clinic.

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Students demonstrating academic dishonesty as defined in the “Student Rights and Responsibilities” handout will receive a grade of “F” in the course and will be subject to all PTA program policies regarding course failure. CUEING ANOTHER PERSON DURING AN EXAM, APPLICATION, OR SKILLS CHECK-OFF WILL BE CONSIDERED CHEATING.


Goals: Through the course textbook, personal notes, handouts, direct instruction, and other material, the student should begin to demonstrate competence with components of the following requisite skills identified by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education:

  1. Apply the laws and regulations governing physical therapy practice to course-related skills.
  2. Demonstrate appropriate professional behaviors in all interactions with classmates and instructors by displaying all Professional Behaviors at the beginning level


  1. Utilize correct medical terminology and abbreviations
  2. Identify strategies for guiding dialog with the patient/client to appropriate subjects and issues.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to obtain essential subjective information from patients and/or family members through interviewing to obtain current information about patient’s level of function and status

Body Mechanics and Transfers

  1. Identify multiple types of transfers used in the clinical setting.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to competently perform common bed mobility and patient transfer techniques.
  3. Recognize the different levels of patient function during bed mobility and transfers.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to effectively educate another person on body mechanics training.
  5. Describe proper body mechanics to lift, reach, push, pull, and carry objects.

Patient Positioning

  1. Describe proper positioning of the trunk, head, and extremities with the patient supine, prone, side-lying, or sitting
  2. Identify positions and postures that aggravate or relieve pain or altered sensations.
  3. Identify areas prone to skin breakdown in a variety of patient positions.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to competently position a patient in supine, prone, side-lying, and sitting.


  1. Compare each section of a SOAP note.
  2. Accurately document a patient’s activities in the objective portion of the SOAP note including the patient’s functional capabilities and progress toward goals.
  3. Compose a SOAP note demonstrating an understanding of short and long term goals from the physical therapist's initial evaluation.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to accurately locate information in the medical record, based on an understanding of how medical record content is organized.
  5. Compare documentation and discharge planning responsibilities of the PT and PTA.
  6. Discuss the importance of discharge planning when a patient begins physical therapy.
  7. Identify standards and criteria for documentation set by federal and state governments, professional associations, accrediting agencies, and health-care facilities.
  8. Identify HMOs, PPOs, Medicare (parts A through D) and Medicaid.
  9. Differentiate types of reimbursement for the PT and the PTA in specific health-care settings.

Aseptic Technique

  1. Recognize the principles and concepts of infection control.
  2. Define and list indications for transmission-based precautions as well as understand the pathogens transmitted for airborne, droplet, and contact precautions.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to work within a sterile field and to perform a sterile dressing change.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to competently perform appropriate infection control techniques, including hand washing and donning and doffing personal protective equipment.
  5. Compare infection control guidelines for the different patient isolation categories.

Wound Care

  1. Identify the major types of wounds and ulcerations.
  2. Recognize the indications and contraindications for various types of wound care treatments and dressings.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to competently apply and remove wound dressings.
  4. Identify precautions for dressing removal.
  5. Recognize as viable and nonviable tissue.
  6. Describe wound characteristics including bleeding, contraction, depth, drainage, location, odor, pigment, shape, size, tunneling, and undermining.

Assistive Devices/Gait Training

  1. Identify the different assistive devices used in gait training.
  2. Demonstrate common gait patterns utilized with walkers, crutches, and canes
  3. Demonstrate the ability to competently perform appropriate gait training, including accurate fitting of the assistive device and appropriate patient guarding.
  4. Compare the different levels of patient function during gait training.
  5. Identify a patient and caregiver's ability to care for an assistive device
  6. Recognize safety factors and potential changes in skin condition from while using assistive devices for gait


  1. Identify the components and features of various wheelchairs.
  2. List the standard measurements for an adult wheelchair.
  3. Identify common problems with wheelchair fitting and positioning, including potential solutions.
  4. Demonstrate appropriate wheelchair management and mobility techniques.

Vital Signs

  1. Identify normal and abnormal vital sign values.
  2. Describe the normal and abnormal changes in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing pattern, and respiration rate during exercise and positional changes.
  3. Recognize responses to positional changes and activities
  4. Recognize normal and abnormal changes in the direction and magnitude of patient’s state of arousal, mentation, and cognition

Anthropometric Characteristics

  1. Demonstrate the ability to accurately assess height, weight, length, and girth.


  1. Identify indications, contraindications, and precautions for passive range of motion, active assistive range of motion, and active range of motion.
  2. Describe the planes of the body and the joint motions that take place within them.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to competently perform passive range of motion for the major joints of the upper and lower extremities.

Special Equipment

  1. Describe safe techniques when working with patients with catheters, IV’s, chest tubes, gastrostomy tubes, casts, telemetry, or traction
  2. Identify the indications, contraindications and parameters of the tilt table and standing frame.

First Aid

  1. Identify common signs symptoms, and the appropriate responses for various medical conditions, including fractures, severe bleeding, dislocations, shock, sprains, strains, orthostatic hypotension, hypoglycemia, and autonomic dysreflexia.
  2. Describe precautions to improve safety and reduce patient and employee injury in the treatment setting.
  3. Identify the appropriate response to common medical emergencies that occur in the clinical environment

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

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Expected Student Behavior

Expected Student Behavior

enlightenedStudents shall read the Amarillo College "Student Rights and Responsibilities" information with emphasis placed on the Academic Information, Student Conduct and Responsibilities, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education/Prevention Program sections.

Students will not use cell phones in the classroom, unless the instructor allows use for a specific activity. All such devices must be placed on silent mode and kept stored. If a student expects that there may be some type of emergency situation, the student should inform the instructor prior to the beginning of class. Unauthorized use of cell phones in class will result in the student being asked to leave the class and being counted absent for the lecture/lab.

Student participation is a required element during Lecture and Lab classes. If a student refuses to participate actively or is disengaged in a discussion or activity, the student may be asked to leave class and will be counted absent for the day. Students do have the right to refuse the application of any specific treatment or activity for medical or personal reasons. This does not constitute a reason for absence from class. Alternate activities or assignments will be required.

Students in the PTA Program are expected to dress conservatively and professionally, as expected in the clinic.  Upon request of the faculty, the student will attend class in professional dress including black, navy, or khaki pants and cobalt blue polo shirt with the PTA logo.  Clean, closed-toe, closed-heel shoes with non-slip soles in good condition should be worn during all class and lab activities. Amarillo College Badge/ID's should also be worn during all off-campus class and clinical activities.

Jewelry and cologne are to be kept to a minimum. All jewelry should be conservative and limited to a minimal amount. The student's professional dress is subject to approval by the course instructor. If professional dress code is not followed, the student may not be able to participate in the scheduled activity, may receive a grade penalty for the day, and/or may not have the option to makeup the assignment. This decision is at the discretion of the instructor. Students may be required to cover any visible tattoo, remove any nail treatment, or change hair management when participating in clinical assignments in compliance with the individual institution's dress code in order to attend the clinical assignment.

Courtesy and respect are expected between the student and instructor. Students are expected to be attentive to instructor, guests, and other students during presentations. Students are required to extend highest respect to patients/clients/others when making off-campus contact. Lack of regard to this expectation at any time by any single student or group of students may result in immediate dismissal of the student/s from the situation by the instructor, guest lecturer, or patient/client/other.

Dishonesty in the classroom or in completing any assignment will not be tolerated. Students demonstrating academic dishonesty as defined in the "Student Rights and Responsibilities" publication will receive a grade of "F" in the course and will be subject to all PTA Program policies regarding course failure.

Student Grievance: A student who has an issue with the course or course instructor should make every attempt to resolve the problem with the course instructor. If that is not successful, the student may appeal the decision of the instructor to the program director, Allied Health Dean, Dean of Instruction, and the Amarillo College President - IN THAT ORDER.


Grading Criteria

Quiz/Assignments                       15% ***

Lecture Exams                             40%*

Final Exam                                    20% ****

Practical Exams                            20%**

Attendance                                      5% 

  • *Exam grades excluding the final grade will be averaged to create one exam average which will be 40% of the grade. The total exam average will be calculated based on 40% for the exam average and 20% of the final score. 
  • enlightened** Students who do not meet minimum proficiencies during a lab practical, scoring a 75.9% or below, will be given one opportunity to re-test before the course is completed. If the practical is repeated to achieve competency, the highest grade that can be achieved is 76%. Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in ALL critical safety elements before being allowed to pass the course. If a student is absent on the day of a practical exam, the highest grade that can be achieved is 76% except in extenuating circumstances as determined by the instructor. 
  • ***Quizzes may be in the form of a quiz or submission and will be graded. Assignments may be in the form of a quiz or submission and may be graded on a check-mark system for satisfactory completion. If unsatisfactory work is submitted, the assignment is returned to the student for correction and edits. FAILURE TO COMPLETE ANY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT TO A SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE WILL RESULT IN A ZERO FOR THAT ASSIGNMENT GRADE TO BE CALCULATED INTO THE FINAL GRADE AS WEIGHTED BY THE INSTRUCTOR. 
  • ****Final exam is comprehensive. and the student is required to achieve a passing grade of 76% in order to pass the course. (DELETED WITH CONSENSUS OF CLASS

Any student scoring a 79 or lower on an exam or practical is REQUIRED to contact the instructor to discuss remediation. IT IS THE STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SCHEDULE THIS SESSION. The student will be required to schedule and attend tutoring at one of AC’s tutoring centers. Locations for tutoring can be found at The required number of tutoring sessions will be determined at the discretion of the instructor. The student will be required to bring verification of attendance at tutoring to the instructor.

A = 100-92.0
B = 91.9-84.0
C = 83.9-76.0
F = 75.9 and below

Note: A grade of C or better is required to complete the PTA major.

MAKE-UP POLICY FOR LECTURE EXAMS: There will be a penalty for make-ups on exams. Any unexcused absence from an exam results in a 10-point deduction from the earned grade. The make-up exam will vary in format from the original exam. The student must present verification for the absence in order to take a make-up exam without a penalty The instructor may choose what type of verification is needed. 
The student should expect to take the make-up exam on the day the student returns to class, unless otherwise notified by the instructor.



ATTENDANCE: Regular attendance is necessary for satisfactory achievement. Therefore, the student is responsible for class attendance. The student is expected to be seated and prepared to begin class at the designated time. At the beginning of each lecture and lab, attendance will be recorded in Blackboard.  A sign-in sheet may be available for tracking purposes. 

The student's attendance score is based on 100% for each on-time attendance and 50% for each tardy attendance. Habitual tardiness (at least once weekly event) will be addressed with the instructor. The attendance grade is calculated in the course grade as weighted by the instructor. Habitual tardiness (at least once weekly event) will be addressed with the instructor. The attendance grade is calculated in the course grade as weighted by the instructor. 

Full attendance of class time is also expected. A student will be counted as "absent" if the student is out of class more than 20 minutes of a class time. For example, if in any given day a student arrives 15 minutes late to class, takes an extra 5 minutes for break and leaves class for 5 minutes for any reason (phone calls, appointments, bathroom breaks, illness), that is considered an "absence" for the day. This type of absence counts in the total number of absences resulting in lowering of the final course grade.

If a student is asked to leave a class due to disruption or lack of participation, the student will be counted absent for that entire class.

enlightenedThe rules above apply to all unplanned and unexcused absences. Prior approval of absences and approval of excused absence are solely at the discretion of the faculty based on the circumstances and reasons for absence. Written validation is required for any absence that is considered excused and exempt from this policy. 

Following an absence, the student is responsible for obtaining missed notes/assignments/copies of handouts, etc. from classmates. The student is also responsible for obtaining any needed clarification of missed information from the course instructor.



Basic Patient Care Skills

Lecture Thursday 8-11 (WC Allied Health Building 130)  3:00 hours per week for total of 48 total contact hours 

Lab Monday 8-12:00 (WC Allied Health Building 165 and WC Jones 321 or 325) 4:00 hours lab per week for 64 total contact hours 

Fall 2021 -Tentative Schedule-Lead Instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary. 



LAB Monday

LECTURE Thursday

Reading Assignment


Syllabus Review

Preparation for Patient Care

Infection Control


Documentation Introduction


Continuation of lecture, Vitals, Infection Control

  • Chapter 1, 2, 3 in Pierson and Fairchild 

  • Chapter 1 and 2 in Bircher



Infection Control


Body Mechanics



Body mechanics, special equipment, positioning, and draping, infection control

  • Chapter 4, 5 in Pierson and Fairchild


coolLabor Day Holiday

indecisionExam 1


Bed Mobility Assisted and Dependent Transfers

  • Chapter 8 in Pierson and Fairchild


Bed mobility

Assisted Transfers

Dependent Transfers

Transfers and Special Environments

  • Chapter 8 and 10 in Pierson and Fairchild


Special Environments

Dependent Transfers

indecision Exam 2

Lecture: Emergency

  • Chapter 12 in Pierson and Fairchild 


indecisionPractical 1

Range of Motion

  • Chapter 6 in Pierson and Fairchild


Range of Motion

indecisionExam 3


Wheelchair mobility, gait with and without AD

  • Chapter 7 in Pierson and Fairchild


Wheelchair mobility

Gait with and without AD       

 indecisionExam 4 (Mid-Term)

Gait and Gait Analysis

  • Observational Gait Analysis (entire book before by Monday after fall break)


coolFall Break 



Gait and Gait Analysis

 Gait and Gait Analysis

  • Observational Gait Analysis (entire book)


indecisionPractical 2

Wound Care

  • Chapter 11 in Pierson and Fairchild

  • Supplemental materials within Course Content


Environmental Assessments


Wound Care

indecisionExam 5

Incidents and emergencies, ADA, ICD-10, CPT, payor structures

  • Chapter 13 in Pierson and Fairchild

  • Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Bircher


Case Examples 

Documentation Organization

  • Chapters 6, 7, and 8 in Bircher


Case Studies

indecisionThanksgiving Holiday


Case Studies


  • Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 in Bircher


Case Studies

Case Reviews


indecisionPractical 3

indecisionExam 6


indecision FINALyes 


Additional Information


Instructional Methods include: lecture and Lab activities

USE OF CELL PHONES/ELECTRONIC DEVICES (I-PODS, MP 3 PLAYERS, ETC.): Students will not use cell phones in the classroom unless the instructor specifically allows an exception. All such devices must be placed on silent mode and kept stored. If a student expects that there may be some type of emergency situation, the student should inform the instructor prior to the beginning of class. Unauthorized use of cell phones in class will result in the student being asked to leave the class and being counted absent for the lecture/lab.

The student will bring a computer and textbook(s) as listed in the schedule. 


REQUIRED READING: The student is expected to complete all reading assignments. All information is considered testable material, and may not be covered during lecture, therefore it is the student’s responsibility to discuss (at an appropriate time) with course instructor clarification of material as needed.  

LAB DRESS CODE: Appropriate dress is required during scheduled lab times.

Females: shorts, sports bra, halter, or swimsuit top (fasteners need to be in the back), athletic clothing or loose clothing as a cover-up

Males: shorts, T-shirt, athletic or loose clothing as a cover-up

LAST DATE TO DROP/WITHDRAW:   November 23, 2021

Any student not withdrawn by November 23, 2021 will receive the grade earned.

For successful completion of PTHA 1405 the following is required by each student: passing minimum average of all quizzes/quick checks, exams, Practicals, skills application; submitting all homework/documentation workbook assignments; and to participate in 1-2 body mechanics training session for other disciplines (outside of class time). The body mechanics training opportunities will be announced in advanced so each student has the opportunity to participate. During the body mechanics training opportunities, the student will be required to wear the PTA student shirt, black, navy, or khaki pants, and close-toe, closed-heel shoes with non-skid soles. The student will be expected to interact professionally with the other disciplines, classmates, and instructors.

SAFETY PROCEDURES: In case of an emergency, the student needs to call the Safety and Security department at 9-371-5163.  In an emergency situation, use the nearest phone that is available.  The student should also know in case of a medical emergency, the following procedure should be performed and in the order written:

  1. call 9-911 for an ambulance
  2. call safety and security

Amarillo College Resources link:

PHYSICAL RESTRICTIONS: The full participation in activities presented in this course may be limited by physical restrictions encountered by the student.  It is the responsibility of the student to let the instructor know if any of these restrictions apply to you.  All students are to avoid doing the VALSALVA maneuver during lifting activities.

If you have:

Asthma, cardiac problems, high blood pressure– avoid doing the Valsalva maneuver during lifting activities

Pregnancy– do not do any lifting that exceeds what your doctor has recommended.  Precaution needs to be taken when stretching due to ligament laxity.  All lifting is contraindicated if you have incompetent cervix, vaginal bleeding, placenta previa, rupture of the membrane, premature labor, maternal heart disease, hypertension, intrauterine growth retardation, and uncontrolled diabetes

Rheumatoid Arthritis– when in the inflammatory state, lifting is contraindicated.  It is recommended to rest and use splints to protect your joints during the appropriate activities as prescribed by your doctor

Thermoregulatory problems– clothing may need to be adjusted to accommodate the temperature of the environment.  If necessary, a misting bottle may be brought to lab

Diabetes/hypoglycemia– bring medication and snacks as needed

Latex sensitivity– latex gloves during sterile techniques are to be avoided.  Notify the instructor by the 3rd day of classes so that alternative gloves can be provided.

enlightenedThe lead instructor reserves the right to modify and edit the course plan by notifying students of the change as soon as the change is planned or implemented.


Syllabus Created on:

08/22/21 7:18 AM

Last Edited on:

12/10/21 7:14 AM