Residency Corner: Virginia Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Institute Orthopedic Residency

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

  • The faculty first and foremost. All of the faculty are Residency and Fellowship trained; all are Fellows in American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. All were trained in different programs, which results in a very eclectic evidenced based, clinical reasoning educational framework.
  • VOMPTI is a great mixture of onsite, distance learning, and full emersion.   With 5 sites across the state the therapists have the luxury of working in the area where they prefer and spending 10 weekends in courses with the other residents. There is also complete work online that allows for constant communication. This freedom allows many therapists to do a residency with a full emersion feel.  The faculty is also highly trained from all over the country giving a resident a wide breadth of experience and ways to look at pathologies.
  • I think having the opportunity for 1:1 mentorship under manual therapy fellowship trained clinicians is invaluable. Mentorship time is spent 1:1 during initial evaluations and follow-up treatments which influence and drives clinical reasoning and self-reflection which otherwise may not be obtained retrospectively.
  • There are several things that make VOMPTI unique and stood out to me when I was applying to residency programs. The variety of clinical sites that VOMPTI has to offer was a large draw during my residency search. We have clinical sites affiliated with hospital settings as well as those in small private practice settings. I was particularly interested in the teaching opportunities and clinical instructor opportunities that are provided and emphasized through VOMPTI. Other opportunities include hospital and surgical observation and MD interaction opportunities in certain site settings. The mentor experience/expertise provided through VOMPTI as well as our established alumni were both impressive and appealed to me when I began looking into credentials and who was on staff to help mentor me through residency.

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

  • I like the strongest part of this program is the ability to take the course work on the weekends so that you do not miss work during the week. This allows you to make a better salary when completing the residency. I also feel the content of the didactic portion is very detailed, case based, and up-to-date helping a residency learn for both the OCS, and improving clinical reasoning.  The extra courses brought in by the VOMPTI program is first class and helps build a strong foundation for evidence based learning. The mentors are fellowship trained which causes a higher vigor of learning during mentorship time and pushes each resident into higher critical thinking.
  • The strengths of the VOMPTI residency is without a doubt the manual therapy course series. The course series consists of 6 weekends with 2 days of lecture/lab based education targeted to provide the most relevant research and manual therapy techniques.  The lecture materials are up to date and a great resource to take back to the clinic.  The majority of the time spent during the weekend courses is hands on training with fellowship trained mentors/clinicians.  The weekend courses are also interactive and a great platform to help develop clinical reasoning while reviewing a series of case studies.

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?

  • When you graduate PT school you are educated how to not hurt someone and treat a wide range of patients. When you graduate from VOMPTI’s residency you become a strong orthopedic clinician who can think critically, handle patients with patient-centered care, and has a deep understanding of the medical pathologies and treatments.
  • I believe that the way residency programs are designed help to greatly improve clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills. It also provides tools that allow clinicians to seek continued improvement in their practice upon matriculation. Since finishing my training I have felt well equipped in finding and appraising resources to help be better my patient care.

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

  • Have goals for yourself to accomplish during your time as a resident. These can be clinical practice related, research related, teaching related, or something else entirely. Every experience is going to be slightly different, even if the curriculum is the same. Make sure you find a mentor who will be able to help you reach these goals, but also be prepared to put in the work yourself. You truly get out what you put into residency training.
  • Residency is designed to teach you what you do not know and build on your foundation. You must be in the program to learn, and not think you know it all. Thinking different is what sets you apart. Setting yourself apart is what helps you improve a wide range of patients and not just the easy ones.
  • An open mind, and willingness to self-reflect are the key components that will make the year successful
  • I think if you are considering pursuing a residency, I would pursue one sooner than later. In my experience, pursing a residency immediately after graduate school enabled me to streamline the development of my clinical skills without bias from prior experiences.  I also think the commitment to joining a residency is strongest during times of transition which is the perfect opportunity after graduate school.  Why wait, in my opinion.
  • Be OK with not being OK. Residency is challenging and is designed to keep you on your toes and constantly growing, which can be an uncomfortable experience. Those who crave constructive criticism and input are going to get more out of residency than a passive participant. I think you have to realize that what you put into residency is going to directly correlate with what you get out of it. I would recommend shadowing a resident in a residency program prior to applying if you are unfamiliar with residency education. Talk to the resident and get a feel for what it is really like, that their time “off” looks like and how much time in-clinic vs. out of clinic work they put in. I would also recommend making a list of your priorities when applying for residency. I knew I wanted my mentorship included in my residency curriculum, mentor experience and training were important to me and teaching opportunities were a priority; geographic location and pay were not my top priorities when applying. Know what you are looking for and what you’re not.

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

  • The residency opened my eyes of fellowship training and I completed an orthopedic manual therapy fellowship upon completion of the residency. I am also gaining opportunities to lab assist and teach content to DPT students and recent graduates.

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

  • A positive human being who is looking to improve their understanding of the orthopedic world of healthcare and wants to improve interactions with patients to improve the healing experience. Motivated, driven, open minded, and passionate are the biggest predictors of successful residents.
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