EXERSCI 734 : Physiotherapy Practice


2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Students will assess, plan and deliver interventions for case-studies with spinal musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, and rheumatological conditions across the lifespan. Students will formulate differential diagnoses, prioritise clinical problems and generate solutions using knowledge and skills of physiotherapy practice. Students will implement culturally safe, evidence-based treatment plans to a range of clinical case scenarios across the lifespan.

Course Overview

Students will develop the knowledge, communication and practical skills needed to competently assess and safely manage clients with musculoskeletal, women’s healthand rheumatological conditions affecting the spine. Students will use a culturally safe, biopsychosocial approach informed by the latest research evidence base to assess and treat as well as to predict and evaluate outcomes. Approaches for promotion of good musculoskeletal health, prevention of injury, prevention of recurrence and promotion of health outcomes will be explored. The use of clinical case scenarios will develop clinical reasoning skills underpinning safe, effective and holistic delivery of therapy. Students will learn to formulate differential diagnoses prioritise clinical problems and implement an evidence-based treatment and health promotion plans. Skills will include education-based therapy, self-management strategies, exercise and physical activity, lifestyle changes, manual handling, manual therapy, exercise and modality-based interventions, gait and posture re-training, sports injury management, electro-physical agents, strapping and bracing. Commonly used functional and behavioural outcome measurement tools will be applied to clinical cases. The interdisciplinary nature of care of disorders will be discussed, and the physiotherapist’s role and responsibilities in the health care team will be explored. The course will be a combination of block teaching and online material. The block teaching will be a blend of lectures, practical labs/tutorials and clinic based activity

Course Requirements

Corequisite: EXERSCI 731-733

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse the clinical assessment, treatment planning and physiotherapy management of clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions affecting the spine using clinical case scenarios to support holistic and culturally safe delivery of therapy. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Effectively demonstrate the application of skills and knowledge (including verbal, non-verbal and written formats) to clearly and coherently gain and present information in a manner that supports culturally safe practice (Capability 1, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Develop and demonstrate effective skills for a competent physiotherapy assessment of spinal musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatological clinical presentations in clinical case scenarios from across the lifespan (Capability 1 and 4)
  4. Effectively triage client information, identifying conditions arising from other causes not relevant to physiotherapy management or those requiring onward referral or interdisciplinary management (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Demonstrate effective clinical reasoning involving interpretation and analysis of assessment findings necessary for effective assessment of clients’ abilities, problems and needs and the treatment of musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatological system conditions affecting the spine across the lifespan. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Demonstrate the ability to apply a culturally safe, evidence-based framework of health care, accountability and responsibility to the client, their whanau and the health care team. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Demonstrate effective integration of Maori and Pacific models of health and wellbeing into the planning and equitable delivery of physiotherapy provision for clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions affecting the spine. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  8. Critically evaluate and synthesise disciplinary knowledge and evidence-based physiotherapy practice in the treatment of musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions affecting the spine. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  9. Demonstrate the safe, effective and appropriate application of skills of physiotherapy practice implementing an evidence-based treatment plan to clinical case scenarios affecting the spine across the lifespan and effectively utilise functional and behavioural outcome measure tools. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  10. Critically reflect on the management, within the interdisciplinary team, of clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions and development strategies for self-improvement


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 15% Individual Coursework
Practical skills test 10% Individual Test
Practical case-based test 20% Individual Test
Theory test 50% Individual Test
Practical skills checklist 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Practical skills test
Practical case-based test
Theory test
Practical skills checklist
Must obtain a pass grade (50%) in the course 


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

Key Topics

  • Assessment of musculoskeletal function affecting the spine e.g., anatomy recap, posture and movement assessment, joint range of movement, pain assessment and cultural considerations to assessment of musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Clinical reasoning approaches
  • Evidence based practice
  • Principles and evidence of musculoskeletal physiotherapy interventions and self-management strategies, including management of pain, injury management, prevention and secondary prevention.
  • Common physiotherapy interventions including education-based therapy, self-management and lifestyle strategies, exercise and physical activity prescription, gait and posture re-training, sports injury management, manual therapy, electrophysical agents, therapeutic bracing and taping
  • Commonly used functional and behavioural outcome measurement tools

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 26 hours of lectures, 52hours of laboratory / clinic activity, 72 hours of in-course preparation, reading and thinking about the content and work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs/tutorials/clinics] to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars/tutorials/labs will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the practical tests.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Musculoskeletal Examination and Assessment: A Handbook for Therapists. Editors: Petty & Ryder;  5th Edition - June 29, 2017
Principles of Musculoskeletal Treatment and Management: A Handbook for Therapists. Editors: Petty &  Barnard;  3rd Edition - June 28, 2017
Talis Reading List: Relevant Journal Articles

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.


Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/02/2023 06:14 p.m.