Featured Fellow: Nicole McManus, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Nicole graduated from Northeastern University with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 2006. She then completed a 2 year residency program in Orthopedic Manual Therapy in 2009. Nicole has worked at ProEx since 2001 and firmly believes in the philosophy of treatment here that encompasses manual and exercise therapy as well as a holistic approach to betterment of the whole body through overall wellness techniques. Nicole enjoys teaching and mentoring both students of physical therapy and colleagues in the areas of spine treatment and graded exercise therapy. She is the Center Coordinator of Clinical Education (CCCE) for the organization which allows her to supervise and organize all collegiate students that intern here at ProEx. She is also a teaching assistant and mentor for ProEx’s Advanced Clinical Education Program. Nicole has been certified by WorkWell systems to perform Functional Capacity Evaluations and has extensive experience in work injury management. She continues her education through the ProEducation Series as well as outside courses throughout the year. Nicole is a member of the APTA.

What made you decide to pursue fellowship training?

After working as a co-op student in what is now ProEx Physical Therapy, I realized that there was a higher level of care that I wanted to be a part of.  All of the staff were fellowship trained or working on their training so there was a level of consistency in kind of care that I hadn’t seen in any other setting.  I knew that I wanted to be part of this kind of “club”.

What fellowship program did you attend and why? 

I attended the Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy in Woburn, MA which is two year long program with founder Martin Langaas.  I knew that I needed a systematic and methodical approach to evaluating and treating my ortho patients because after coming off clinical, I was basically trying to use tools I learned from school and clinical without really knowing how to efficiently and effectively evaluate my patients.  I knew this program would not only improve my hands on skills/tools, but more importantly it would make me a better PT because I would finally understand how, when and why to apply these techniques.

What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc…)? 

The program consisted of face to face time twice per week for 2 years.  The first year was soup to nuts assessment and treatment (manual therapy, exercise therapy and education) for every region and joint in the body.  We had about 240 hours of skill practice and didactic time along with 160 hours of patient mentoring time, each year.  The second year was for a select few who had not only passed Level I but showed desire and enough proficiency to become a fellow in manual therapy.  We learned more advanced techniques including manipulation of the spine as well as perfecting the skills we learned in Level I.

Are you trained in any specific areas of manual therapy (i.e. Maitland, McKenzie, etc…), if so, why did you choose that area? 

The IOMT is a Norwegian base system.  Martin teaches the Kaltenborn-Evjenth method of treatment.  I chose this method because it is a system that treats ALL orthopedic conditions, all types of spinal dysfunction and has a strong foundation in manual therapy, since Freddy Kaltenborn basically came up with the universal convex-concave rule that all joint mobilization techniques are derived from.  I feel lucky to have learned from Martin because he learned directly from Freddy and Olaf.  Getting to learn straight from the source is an opportunity that many won’t have.

What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?

Spending the extra time, early or late in your career in orthopedics, to better understand what you’re treating is worth its weight in gold.  Fellowship training that includes both skill development and mentoring with real patients is the best way to hone your skills and improve your outcomes.  Going through a complete program like this ultimately improves your confidence as a PT and sets you apart from the rest who rely on weekend continuing education courses because all you can gain from them alone are tools…what good are tools if you don’t know how and when to use them!

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