What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?
Two unique aspects of this residency that set us apart from other programs are working full time and Saturday classes. Unlike most programs, this program has residents working 40 hours/week, which includes the 5 hours/week of mentoring. Saturday classes occur approximately 2x/monthly which gave the residents an opportunity to meet up and work on manual techniques, discuss body regions or topics in more detail and share our patient cases.
What would you consider the strengths of your program to be?
One of the strengths of this program is strong mentorship. During residency we get mentored two times per week for new evaluations and follow ups. Additionally, we rotate through three different mentors throughout the course of the program. This gives the ability to see and learn from the expertise of multiple different clinicians.
Another strength is strong didactic coursework from experts in the field. Saturday sessions provide much needed information on a variety of topics from spinal manipulation to running analysis.
The balanced approach to learning in this program is a strength. Course work emphasizes hands on skills, along with visual observation and training in pain science to provide a well rounded approach.
What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?
Residency training provides a more efficient way to hone your clinical reasoning and develop skills that would take much longer to develop as a new graduate – or even as someone who has been practicing for a few years. During residency you are pushed to critically examine your evaluation and treatment methods, and implement them effectively and efficiently. Residency also surrounds you with like-minded colleagues and mentors who encourage you to pursue excellence in your practice not only during the program but as your career progresses. The tools refined in residency address multiple areas of clinical practice (manual training, clinical reasoning, patient management, etc) to facilitate improved patient outcomes.
What advice would you give to students that are seriously interested in pursuing residency training?
Do your research and find which program best fits you. Set up times to shadow and sit in on classes and mentoring sessions, if possible. Talk to anyone you can to get their honest perspective and feedback.
Know that residencies require extra work and time commitment but they are tremendously beneficial in fine tuning and developing both clinical skills and reasoning. Being in a residency program surrounded by like minded and ambitious peers and mentors, inspires us to evolve as individuals and as clinicians. If you are prepared to put in the work, you will get back much more than you put in.
What additional opportunities do your residents pursue after completing their training?
After completing the residency, we have an opportunity to apply for permanent positions at the company where we can continue to participate in Saturday classes to learn, teach, and practice our manual skills with the next residency class. We also can continue our training by applying for the Agile Orthopaedic Manual Therapy Fellowship. There are a number of opportunities to give back to the profession through teaching and mentoring the next class of residents as well as physical therapy students.
What do you look for in a quality candidate for your residency program?
Our program’s mission is to provide clinical education that accelerates an orthopedic physical therapist’s professional development in becoming a resource, educator and mentor to others. We look for candidates that are interested in further professional and personal development to one day become leaders in the Physical Therapy field. Additionally, quality candidates are open to feedback, demonstrate humility, and are open to different viewpoints and treatment philosophies.