New physical therapy residency accredited by national association

Therapy for a headache releases muscles that impede blood flow.

Therapy for a headache releases muscles that impede blood flow.

Physical therapists who want to advance their skills and opportunities can apply to a 13-month orthopaedic residency program at the University of Illinois at Chicago that emphasizes training along with patient care.

The program recently garnered accreditation from the American Physical Therapy Association — a “rigorous credentialing” of the program, according to Aaron Keil, clinical associate professor and director of UIC’s physical therapy faculty practice. Three residents, who began in September 2014, have graduated, and the program currently has three residents.

“Residencies are for those who want to be better therapists,” Keil said. The mentoring that residents receive offers “the chance to be board-certified sooner and better opportunities later,” he said.

UIC’s program is one of 94 residencies in the U.S. for orthopaedic physical therapy, which focuses on disorders of muscle and bone. It is open to licensed physical therapists.

Residents see patients 75 percent of their time, working alongside UIC clinical faculty. The other 25 percent time is devoted to training, including at least 150 hours of one-on-one mentoring and 75 hours of classes, case review, clinical rounds and other group instruction.

Physical Therapy Faculty Practice clinic

The UIC Physical Therapy Faculty Practice Clinic.

Residents can participate in research in state-of-the-art labs throughout the university, or pursue a clinical-educator track, which trains them to teach physical therapy students. Upon completion of their program, each resident earns a graduate certificate in clinical research or clinical education, comprising 20 graduate credits that can be applied toward a Ph.D.

Keil defined the ideal residency candidate as having “humility, a passion to be better, and a strong work ethic.”

“When someone wants to advance their skills and knowledge after having trained for seven years, that says a lot about them,” he said.

Applications for residencies beginning in September will be accepted through March 4.