Using Legal and Ethical Documents to Support Practice

Course Description

This short course will investigate and discuss legal practice implications along with ethical considerations to support decision making in practice for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants in the state of Wisconsin. Participants will learn about the Physical Therapist Examining Board (PTEB) and how it functions, and will learn and discuss how the statutes and administrative rules that comprise the PT Practice Act are created, read and enforced. Participants will also explore multiple dimensions of legal and ethical decision making and the documents that can and should be used to work through difficult cases derived from practice. Additionally we will discuss the uncertainty created by tensions between federal/state laws and ethical standards for practice and problem solve strategies to resolve these tensions along with those created by personal and interprofessional tensions when there is disagreement.

Course Objectives

  • The participant will be able to identify the roles and responsibilities of a Licensing Board (PTEB).
  • The participant will be able to read and interpret a Practice Act.
  • The participant will be able to discuss how the Wisconsin State PT Practice Act is enforced.
  • The participant will be able to use multiple legal and ethical documents to support practice.
  • The participant will understand the driving forces of personal vs. business vs. professional perspectives in patient care environments.
  • The participant will be able to identify strategies to resolve tensions that may arise due to differing perspectives.
  • The participant will be able to use cases derived from clinical practice to determine legal and ethical implications for practice.
  • The participant will be able to link course discussions and cases to legal and ethical issues in one’s own practice.

Continuing Education Credit

4 CEU hours for Ethics and Jurisprudence awarded by Marquette University as per WI State Statue 9.04(1) as an approved organization - courses previously approved for E&J by the WPTA. A certificate of attendance will be provided to each participant after verification of successful completion of quiz.


Laurie KontneyLaurie Kontney, P.T., D.P.T., M.S., Laurie Kontney is Co-Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Associate Professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Laurie is a former member and chair of the Physical Therapist Examining Board (PTEB) for Wisconsin. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1986, a Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School in 1994 and a transitional DPT from Simmons College in 2006. Laurie has been active in the APTA/WPTA at the district, state and national levels and is applying those experiences along with her teaching and clinical experiences to present Using Legal and Ethical Documents to Support Practice. Laurie also teaches the ethics content in Marquette’s curriculum, and has taken additional courses on medical ethics as part of her doctoral training. Laurie is an invited member of the Dreamcatchers; an interdisciplinary think tank for ethics in rehabilitation.


  • Beauchamp TL, Childress JF. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Department of Regulation and Licensing website
  • Purtilo R. Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 1999.
  • Scott, R. Professional Ethics: A Guide for Rehabilitation Professionals. St. Louis: Mosby, 1998.
  • APTA, Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist; 2009.
  • APTA, Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant: 2009
  • APTA, Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values; 2007.