EIM’s Essentials of Pharmacology and Clinical Lab Tests course is specifically designed to complement entry-level education and enhance the integration of pharmacological and clinical laboratory principles into the participant’s clinical practice.

The first three modules focus on the clinical application of key pharmacology principles in an outpatient musculoskeletal physical therapy setting. Basic concepts of pharmacokinetics and pharmacotherapeutics are covered, followed by a specific focus on medications commonly prescribed for pain control, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and pulmonary disorders. Discussion of these broad categories of drugs will cover clinical application, intended therapeutic effects, and potential adverse affects. Finally, this course will provide a brief overview of commonly used neutraceuticals and nutritional supplements. The final module provides an overview of a core set of clinical lab tests that physical therapists and athletic trainers should understand and be confident suggesting to medical providers or ordering themselves (based on the physical therapist’s practice act or credentials).

The clinical lab tests discussed include basic biochemistry, immunology, hematology, & microbiology tests.


Michael Ross, PT, DHSc, and Eric Robertson, PT, DPT, developed this course in a modular, web-based, self-paced format using the Moodle Learning Management System. The course is interactive and media-rich to help make the e-learning environment both engaging and convenient for the participant. Learning activities include a combination of online presentations, web-based tutorials, key evidence summaries and primary research articles to present key concepts of pharmacology and clinical lab tests. This course, by design, is tutorial in nature with independent access to the medical literature, critical review of the literature, and self-oriented critical analysis of performance. Weekly online quizzes are used to reinforce course objectives and assess learning.

Successful completion of this course requires a final passing grade of 80% on all learning activities. The course is designed to be completed in a 4-week time period.

Target Audience: Intermediate level course open to licensed physical therapists and athletic trainers certified.

Credits: 15 contact hours from EIM Institutes of Health Professions

EIM Program Applicability: OMPT Fellowship, Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy Residencies, and Transition DPT programs (EIM R110; 1 credit)

Prerequisites: None

Appropriate dress: This is an online course.


Upon completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  1. Understand the basics of pharmacokinetic and pharmacotherapeutic principles and how they impact our patients.
  2. Identify indications for common classes of drugs, as well as their intended therapeutic actions, potential side effects, and potential implications for physical therapy practice.
  3. Use information on therapeutic actions, potential side effects, and implications for PT practice in planning and modifying patient plans of care.
  4. Use selected web-based resources on pharmacology.
  5. Understand key indications for requesting selected clinical lab tests, as well as the ranges for normal test results.
  6. Understand potential reasons for abnormal clinical lab tests, and identify a plan of action once an abnormal clinical lab test is identified.

And most importantly, be able to apply this stuff to your clinical practice next week!

References Required and supplementary articles are listed in each weekly module and can be downloaded from the Moodle Learning Management System.