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  1. Ramsey, Crystal R. DPT, PT, NCS
  2. Preston, Ashton SPT
  3. Barredo, Ronald DPT, EdD, PT, GCS, CCRP
  4. Lehman, David PhD, PT


Despite the wide acceptance of the International Classification of Function, Disability, and Health (ICF) model, there remains a fundamental gap in the utilization of the ICF to foster clinical decision-making in physical therapy students. This article proposes a shift from initiating the patient examination with assessment of body structures and functions to a model that incorporates adult learning theory and clinical expertise theory to facilitate students' transition to expert clinicians. The authors offer the example of an older patient with a neurological condition to demonstrate the reasoning process that delineates typical aging from the disease process for optimal patient outcomes.