Residency Corner: Temple University Orthopedic Residency

The vision of the Temple Orthopedic PT Residency is to create a high quality learning experience that is affordable, flexible, and accessible. Temple University has a substantial infrastructure that supports the pedagogy and technology required for successful blended, distance learning.  We have leveraged the assets of the University to create a one of a kind Orthopedic PT Residency program model in the region. The traditional clinical physical therapy residency is a ‘brick and mortar’ model. The residency takes place at one facility where the resident works, receives advanced didactic training, and participates in mentored clinical practice.  The blended distance-learning model we use at Temple allows the resident to live and work where he or she chooses. 

We emphasize not only a strong evidence-informed knowledge foundation and advanced technical skills but also high quality communication and empathetic patient interaction in our residency teaching.  Since the inception of the program we have placed a special emphasis in the pain sciences and consideration of psychosocial factors due to the epidemic of chronic musculoskeletal pain and the challenge that patients with complex and chronic pain pose to our residents. 

The majority of our residents choose to participate in the Temple Residency because of the program format and model.   As a result, we tend to attract self-motivated individuals who thrive in an adult learning model.  The residents all report that the residency experience has greatly enhanced their ability and confidence in managing patients with musculoskeletal disorders

Our residents have presented posters and platform presentations at National Physical Therapy Conferences including APTA CSM and the AAOMPT Annual Conference.  After completing the residency, several of our graduates have assumed clinical director and clinical leader positions within their organizations.  Several of our graduates have successfully started their own private physical therapy practices.  The majority of our residency graduates serve as part of a high quality cohort of clinical instructors to whom we can confidently send our entry-level Temple University DPT students to for their clinical internships.    

Comments from current residents:

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

Residents are able to do their residency program without sacrificing there working experience.  Accessibility of faculty and advisors. Well organized program. Active online program that promote active learning.

What would you consider the strengths of your program to be?

Small class, great faculty, up to date facility. Course are online. The time table are reasonable. Hands on classes and biweekly patient case discussion. Encouragement of active learning. 

Some of the strengths this program offers are the weekend courses that are held, which allow us to practice manual therapy skills with one on one feedback from the professors. It helps us improve our manual skills and gives us ways to improve while practicing in the clinic. The professors of this program are also very helpful. They give us learning opportunities to improve our clinical reasoning through discussions and modules over the course, with expert feedback on how to approach different cases in a various perspective.  

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

For students that are seriously interested in pursuing residency training, I would advise them to become experts at time management. With the clinical and didactic portions of the residency in addition to working 40 hours a week, the schedule can get very busy. It is very important to get organized and dedicate your time into various tasks early on so you don’t get behind. I also find that having at least a year of outpatient experience in your practice is very helpful through the learning process in the residency. It allows you to apply your knowledge back to patient cases and engages your clinical reasoning on a higher level.

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