Residency Corner BONUS: Mayo Sports & Ortho Residencies

Mayo Clinic is recognized as the #1 in the nation, as well as #1 in more specialties than any other hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report Rankings of Top Hospitals. The Mayo Clinic Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Residency program and the Mayo Clinic Physical Therapy Sports Residency program, located in Rochester, MN, are full-time 12 month long programs that prepare residents for advanced orthopaedic and sports physical therapy practice through integrated clinical practice, education, and research. Each program enrolls 2 residents in August each year.

In addition to the structured didactic curriculum, patient care, and clinical mentoring, residents will have unique opportunities teaching lecture/lab coursework in the Mayo Clinic Doctoral of Physical Therapy program, clinical teaching of physical therapy students, and observation of orthopedic surgery and specialty practices. Orthopaedic and sports residents will each rotate to the sports medicine practice, general outpatient practice, and hand clinic, and will present at journal clubs & grand rounds, create clinical practice guidelines, and complete a final research project. Sports residents will have additional unique opportunities with outreach event coverage and rotating through the sports medicine practice at Mayo Clinic Square in Minneapolis, MN.

See the program websites for more information:

Current Mayo Clinic Residents:

Orthopaedic Residents

Rebecca Gusmer, PT, DPT

Adam Squires, PT, DPT

Sports Residents

Anthony Thompson, PT, DPT

Paul Yerhot, PT, DPT 

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

Orthopaedic Residency

One of the most unique aspects of our program is the wide range of cultures we see as physical therapists. Because the Mayo Clinic is a tertiary medical center and has connections with several embassies from the Middle East, it is not uncommon for a typical day to include treatment of patients from a wide range of religious, socioeconomic, and political backgrounds. We have the opportunity to treat everyone from foreign dignitaries to Clinic employees to the local farmer. I believe this does a lot to deepen the cultural competence and empathy of our residents.

Another aspect that is unique compared to other residency programs is the opportunity to rotate to our Sports Medicine and Hand Clinics. These are patient populations that are not seen as often in a general orthopedic clinic, but are important for ensuring a clinician truly becomes a complete orthopedic specialist.

Sports Residency

The Mayo Clinic sports residency has several opportunities both inside and outside the clinic that are unique and set it apart from other residencies. During our 52 weeks in the residency we spend 36 weeks at the Rochester Sports Medicine Center, four weeks in a hand specialty clinic, six weeks in the outpatient spine clinic, and six weeks at the Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center.  The wide variety of settings allows us to develop our knowledge and psychomotor skills for the treatment of all patients, not just athletes. We spend more than 200 hours providing outreach event coverage at events ranging from local half marathons to professional sports. One of the most unique benefits provided by the Mayo Clinic sports residency is the ability to interact closely with the entire sports medicine department, which includes world renowned surgeons, highly ranked specialists, and the EXOS performance team.

What would you consider are the strengths of your program?

Orthopaedic Residency

The resources for learning at Mayo Clinic are unparalleled. There are opportunities for learning from world renowned experts every day of the week.  There is also a strong culture of teamwork and collaboration all designed to meet the needs of the patient.  Another strength of our program is the strong ties between the residency and the physical therapy program. Not only are elements of the didactics taught by professors, but residents have the opportunity to assist with teaching several classes. The residents are also recruited to help orient new groups of students to the outpatient orthopedic setting in the clinic every 3 months and have ample opportunity to mentor them. It has been a very rewarding and excellent learning experience working with students.

Sports Residency

The Mayo Clinic has a tremendous precedence for clinical education. Because of this culture of learning, an open-door policy exists with all providers. Physicians, surgeons, athletic trainers, or performance coaches are receptive to questions and happy to take the time to explain rationale and assure our understanding.  This makes for an environment that is very open to collaboration, new ideas and professional growth.

Additionally, Mayo Clinic puts a significant emphasis on their Sports Medicine Physical Therapists pursuing their Sports Specialty Certification. As a result, not only are the designated mentors within the residency certified, but the majority of the clinicians we practice around and interact with as well. This culture of excellence is very motivating and pushes us to always be practicing at the top of our scope.

What financial implications should students expect when entering your program?

There are financial implications, but these are minimized as much as possible. Our program charges no tuition. The residents are paid 75% of a starting physical therapist’s salary (commensurate with average of 75% of the time spent in patient care). The residents are also eligible for full medical and dental benefits at standard employee rates and are allowed up to 10 days paid time off. However, they are not eligible for retirement benefits.

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursing?

Focused learning within Mayo Clinic’s residency provides a strong foundation for developing orthopaedic clinical expertise and for serving effectively as a future specialist. The focused learning assists in sharpening clinical decision making skills to assist in providing the best care to every patient.

The integrated focused learning components of the residency includes weekly scheduled formal mentorship with specialized clinicians where clinical reasoning is advanced through co-treatment of patients and practice of clinical skills. Didactic education with structured coursework further facilitates the attainment of knowledge. A unique component of Mayo Clinic’s residency includes performing evaluations in a simulation center where the residents critique themselves conducting evaluations.  Further, the teaching and presenting opportunities in the Doctoral of Physical Therapy students, grand rounds, at APTA conferences and in the community afford an accelerated attainment and dispersion of knowledge. Residents are immersed in a supportive learning environment where growth is encouraged and fostered.

What do you look for in a quality candidate for your residency program?

Finding the right fit for the applicant and for the residency program is essential. Our residency programs look for candidates who are passionate about orthopaedics or sports physical therapy. We want candidates who have the ambition to become future leaders in our profession and who are committed to the Mayo three shields of excellence in clinical practice, education, and research. High level candidates will demonstrate knowledge of current best specialty practice, have strong interpersonal skills, and work well with others as part of a collaborative team.

What advice would you give students that are seriously interested in pursuing residency training?

Go for it. A residency is a tremendous experience to learn, grow and develop a strong foundation for the rest of one’s career. For a student interested in pursuing a residency, recommendations include first determining which specialty one wants to specialize in. Contacting residency directors and past/current residents can provide valuable insight into the program and experiences to determine if the residency will be a good fit. Further, being involved in experiences to foster skills towards becoming a specialized clinician within the area of specialty provides learning and assists in making a strong applicant. These experiences can include attending continuing education events, being involved in research, taking leadership roles, active involvement in the APTA, volunteering, and presenting in-services. Recommendations would be to reflect on why one wants to pursue a residency and write down one’s short and long term goals. Having a clear focus assists in determining priorities when presented with a variety of opportunities.

What additional opportunities do your residents pursue after completing their training?

Orthopaedic Residency

Following the residency training, each resident pursued specialization and positions within their area of interest. Further, our residents have 100% first time pass rate on the Orthopaedic Specialty Certification exam. Additional opportunities residents have pursued after completing the training include presenting from the state to national level, publishing research articles, serving as clinical instructors for students, obtaining further specialist certification through the APTA, pursuing fellowships, teaching within the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program and residency programs and serving as leaders as part of the APTA.

Sports Residency

Our Sports Residency is completing its first year. Our sports residents have ambitions to submit publications, serve as clinical instructors, present at state/national conferences, and continue to teach within the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. Additionally, the Sports Section’s Traveling Fellowship was sponsored at Mayo Clinic in 2016, and our sports residents have ambitions to participate in this in future years.

Residency Director & Orthopaedic Residency Coordinator – Darren Calley, PT, DScPT, OCS

Sports Residency Coordinator – Corey Kunzer, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS


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