Residency Corner: Creighton University Orthopedic Residency


The orthopedic physical therapy residency program at Creighton University is a fast-paced, high-energy, clinical immersion experience designed to kick start your professional career and fast track you to clinical specialization. Our residency year is designed to bring you along from a beginning point of new practitioner to a more confident, self-assured clinician who is ready to take on a challenging clinical environment. You will receive quality clinical mentorship and advanced didactic instruction to help you begin to develop expertise in the practice of orthopedic physical therapy.

We are a full-time, 12-month clinical residency with didactic curriculum at Creighton University and clinical practice at facilities in Omaha, Nebraska. We offer:

  • Advanced didactic instruction in orthopedic physical therapy, including specific OCS exam prep
  • 30 hours of clinical practice per week with one of our clinical partners, including regular mentoring from clinical faculty
  • Weekly “Common Curriculum” seminars with other specialties and professions at Creighton, including neurologic PT, pediatric PT, geriatric PT, women’s health PT, and OT fellows
  • Teaching experiences with DPT students in musculoskeletal PT classes and laboratories
  • Quarterly written narratives, with feedback from peers and faculty
  • Case presentations, with feedback from peers and faculty
  • Scholarship project, with guidance from an academic or clinical faculty member

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

Clinical reasoning is at the center of our program. Residents reflect regularly with mentors and with each other about their clinical practice through discussion, clinical narratives, case presentations, and written reflections. Our program also provides unique opportunities for inter- and intraprofessional collaboration among different specialities within Creighton University as we meet weekly to discuss topics relating to the healthcare system patient care. Residents also have the opportunity to take part in the education of physical therapy students by assisting in laboratory sessions and guest lecturing in the classroom.

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

  • Clinical reasoning development
  • Teaching skill development
  • Self-reflection
  • Evidence based practice
  • Variety of mentors with various backgrounds

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?

A clinical residency provides participants with the opportunity to focus on their own development as a clinician and professional while engaged in real-world clinical practice. There is structured time for practice and reflection, which is not always the case in the initial years of clinical practice. Guidance from mentors helps residents identify strengths and weaknesses, and gives them the opportunity to develop those strengths and improve upon those weaknesses.

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

Students considering a clinical residency should explore several programs to discover the various formats and structures that are available. They should talk to past and current residents about their experiences. Think about what your goals are for your initial few years of clinical practice and decide whether a residency would help you achieve those goals.

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

Many of our residents end up taking jobs in outpatient orthopedics, both hospital-based and private practice. Some have eventually taken academic positions teaching physical therapist and/or physical therapist assistant students. Several of our residents have completed full-time manual therapy fellowships and some have pursued manual therapy certifications through part-time programs. A few of our residency graduates have even been involved in the development of orthopedic residency programs in other places. All of our residents sit for the ABPTS specialty exam in orthopedics shortly after completing the program.

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

Solid academic performance during physical therapy school is important, but we especially like to see candidates who have performed very well on clinical rotations. So, positive references from clinical instructors and clinical education advisors are critical. We love to see qualities like flexibility, adaptability, and self-directedness in our applicants.




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