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SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Residency

Billiken Among Flowers

Together with SSM Health Physical Therapy, Saint Louis University offers a 12-month physical therapy orthopedic residency with numerous opportunities for licensed physical therapists to develop as an advanced clinician; to develop as an educator, to produce and disseminate a scholarly product; and to grow as a provider to the area's underserved populations.

Our mission is graduate physical therapists who embody the ideals of excellence through advanced integration of evidence into practice, enhanced clinical decision making and reflective patient care within orthopedic physical therapy.

The program advances licensed physical therapists in their orthopedics knowledge, skills and attributes, as described by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education Description of Residency Practice and the  American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists’ Description of Specialty Practice. It involves both classroom learning and psychomotor instruction at Saint Louis University and SSM Health Physical Therapy in face-to-face, online and small group formats.

We have been accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) since 2014. We accept external applicants and internal applicants (current employees of SSM Health Physical Therapy).

Program highlights include:

  • Direct 1:1 clinical mentoring and thorough preparation for the ABPTS OCS exam
  • Compensation (including full-time employee benefits) for non-mentored hours of patient care
  • Dedicated, focused pathways in an area of interest culminating in a scholarly product
  • Participation as a lab instructor in SLU's entry-level physical therapy program
  • Small group classroom and manual skills instruction, facilitated discussion and journal club
  • Opportunities for clinic rounding, surgery observation and grand rounds with physicians

Program Faculty

Curriculum

Our curriculum exceeds the standards of ABPTRFE accreditation.  The entire program includes 1,500 hours of non-mentored patient care, for which you will be paid.  Below highlights the experiences and opportunities of the program that set us apart and maximizes the strength of the partnership between SLU and SSM Health Physical Therapy:  

  • 150 hours of 1:1 clinical mentoring during patient care sessions
  • A minimum of 30 hours providing pro-bono services to the St. Louis community
  • A minimum of 50 hours spent as a lab instructor or facilitator in SLU's entry-level DPT program
  • A minimum of 300 hours educational hours via face-to-face didactic, small group, and manual skills instruction
  • Up to 50 hours of clinical observation (physician shadowing, surgery observation)
  • Individualized exploration in specialty topics such as teaching, social justice, research or orthopedics in the geriatric population

Individualized Exploration

While our Residents always have the option to explore based upon their individual interests, we have identified two pathways which strongly emphasize the resources of Saint Louis University and SSM Health Physical Therapy.

Education Pathway: Working with the Saint Louis University Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, the Resident will:

  • Participate in courses for the Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills
  • Earn Foundations in University Teaching Certificate (if requirements are met)
  • Interact with award-winning teachers in the Program in Physical Therapy
  • Explicitly be involved within a variety of entry-level DPT courses as an observer, lab instructor and lecturer
  • Be involved as a clinical educator within a pro-bono environment
  • Emphasize education research through readings and scholarship

Social Justice Pathway: Working directly with the Physical Therapy Clinic at the Health Resource Center, the Resident will:

  • Participate in courses focused on interprofessional education
  • Engage in specific activities to explore the influence of the Jesuit mission in clinical practice
  • Be involved within a pro-bono environment focusing on all aspects of the clinic: administration, management, volunteerism and clinical practice
  • Emphasize social justice and service to the underserved through readings and scholarship

Curriculum Discussion Topics and Seminars

  • Visual analysis of human movement
  • Clinical reasoning/Differential diagnosis
  • Patient-centered interviewing
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Physical examination and manual treatment procedures**
  • Pain science
  • Spirituality
  • Lumbo-pelvic regions
  • Knee and lower leg regions
  • Hip and thigh regions
  • Thoracic spine/ribs/chest regions
  • Cervical spine/TMJ regions
  • Shoulder/scapulothoracic regions
  • Elbow/wrist/hand regions

**Coursework is regionally based and will be taught through small group facilitation, journal club, psychomotor skills and lecture. All courses include mobilization/manipulation where appropriate.

Scholarly Products

  • Imgarten J, Ponce J, Sebelski C.  Embracing Consensus? Investigating the Impact within Literature for Rehabilitation of Patients with Rotator Cuff Repair. APTA VIRTUAL Combined Sections Meeting, 2021.  Platform presentation.
  • Ludwig M, Sebelski C. Evidence-informed Rehabilitation Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion.  APTA VIRTUAL Combined Sections Meeting, 2021.  Poster presentation.
  • Garland J, Yemm B, Carter S, Ludwig M, Sebelski C.  Orthopedic Residency Program Involvement in Pro Bono Physical Therapy: Escalating and Elevating Outcomes.  The VIRTUAL Pro Bono Network Conference, 2020.  Live educational session.
  • Baker, J. Sebelski, C. Evidence Informed Rehabilitation of Tibial Stress Injuries. Poster presentation for APTA Combined Sections Conference in Denver, CO, 2020.
  • Pershing, C. Sebelski, C. Evidence Informed Rehabilitation of Medial Patellofemoral Reconstruction and Repair. Poster presentation for APTA Combined Sections Conference in Denver, CO, 2020.
  • Judice, G. Sebelski, C. (2018) A review of pitching kinematics at the moment of foot contact in youth baseball: 2007-2017. Poster presentation at APTA Combined Sections, New Orleans, LA.
  • Kays, A. Sebelski, C. (2018) A deeper understanding: Choosing an exercise self-efficacy scale for college aged wellness clients. Poster presentation at APTA Combined Sections, New Orleans, LA.
  • Allison, J. Sebelski, C. (2017) Manual therapy interventions for adolescent to collegiate-aged individuals with post-concussion disorder: a rapid review. 2016. Poster presentation at World Congress in South Africa 2017.
  • Allison, J. Sebelski, C. (2017) Manual therapy interventions for adolescent to collegiate-aged individuals with post-concussion disorder: a rapid review. 2016. Poster presentation at APTA Combined Sections, San Antonio, TX.

Sample Weekly Schedule

  AM PM
Monday Entry-level Teaching Clinical Practice (non-mentored) 
Tuesday Clinical Practice (non-mentored) Physician Shadowing
Wednesday Residency Instruction Clinical Practice (non-mentored)
Thursday Clinical Practice (with a mentor) Clinical Practice (non-mentored)
Friday Clinical Practice (non-mentored) Clinical Practice (non-mentored)

Participation in the Physical Therapy Clinic at the Health Resource Center takes place on select weekends.


Collaborations

ACLR Rehabilitation
Anatomic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty Rehabilitation
Medial Patellarfemoral Ligament Reconstruction/Repair
Post-Surgical Meniscal Repair Rehabilitation
SLUCare Physical Therapy Protocols 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I apply for a residency program or a fellowship program? What is the difference?

The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education states:"The residency experience combines opportunities for ongoing mentoring and formal and informal feedback to the physical therapist resident, including required written and live patient practical examinations, with a foundation in scientific inquiry, evidence-based practice and course work designed to provide a theoretical basis for advanced practice. A residency program must be completed within a minimum of 1,500 hours including a minimum of 150 hours of one to one mentoring and a minimum of 75 hours of didactic training completed between nine to 36 months within the specialty area of practice. A fellowship program allows a therapist to subspecialize in an area of practice and must be completed with a minimum of 1,000 hours and between six to 36 months."

How does the SLU-SSM Health Orthopedic Residency Program differ from other residency programs?

The SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency Program is an accredited residency located in the heart of the Midwest. It offers you the unique opportunity to be mentored by experts in two different facilities, to instruct in SLU's entry-level program in physical therapy and to participate in pro bono services to the Saint Louis community. The partnership between the two facilities provides access to numerous resources, clinical experiences and expertise in a variety of settings for orthopedic patient care.

What are the outcomes of the SLU SSM Health Residency graduates?

Our graduates report consistent, long-term engagement in the advancement of the profession and their own commitment to life-long learning. We celebrate a 100% on-time graduation rate. Our first-time pass rate is 92.3% (12/13) for our graduates who sit for the ABPTS Orthopedic Specialty Examination. As highlighted, we are committed to ongoing collaborations with SLUCare physicians and numerous scholarly products which have been successfully presented at national and international conferences

What are the admissions requirements and process for the SLU SSM Health Physical Therapy Residency?

We participate in the Residency/Fellowship Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS). Visit http://www.abptrfe.org/home.aspx for more information. 

The expected requirements for the application to be considered include:

  • Graduate of an accredited physical therapy program
  • Proof of licensure as a Physical Therapist and a MO license by start of program
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation (one from an academic physical therapist, one from a clinician, and one of the applicant's choosing)
  • Official DPT transcripts (submitted through the RF-PTCAS system)
  • Comply with the SSM Health Physical Therapy and Saint Louis University employment requirements
  • Complete and accurate submission of the RF-PTCAS application

Applications are initially reviewed by the Program Director and Associate Director. Invitations are extended to a select number of applicants for an in-person, on-site interview with members of the Residency faculty. Web conference interviews are possible if necessary.

How many years of experience in the physical therapy field should I have before applying?

Recent graduates of accredited physical therapy programs are eligible to apply, as are physical therapists who are new to the field of orthopedics and are interested in one-on-one mentoring.

How large is the program?

Two to three residents are accepted each year.

How long is the program?

It is a 12-month program, typically beginning in early August.

When is the application deadline?

March 1. Only one annual application cycle is offered, typically beginning in the Fall.

What physical therapy degree should I hold to apply to the Orthopedic Residency Program?

Applicants can hold a bachelor's, master's or doctor of physical therapy degree.

How do I apply?

We participate in the Residency/Fellowship Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS). Visit http://www.abptrfe.org/home.aspx for more information.

Will I be prepared to take the orthopedic clinical specialist exam after I graduate?

Yes. Our curriculum is developed from the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education Description of Residency Practice and the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists' Description of Specialty Practice. An emphasis is placed on the concepts and knowledge necessary for the OCS exam.

Is an interview a required part of the application process?

Yes, a personal interview with the faculty of the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Residency Program is a requirement of the application process for invited applicants.

Can student loans be deferred while I am enrolled in the program?

Typically, yes; however different lenders may have different policies. Check with your specific lender regarding your individual account and its management.

What are the requirements for successful completion of the program?

Residents are expected to demonstrate successful completion of written and oral exams, and practical examinations with patients. Additionally, the SLU SSM Health Physical Therapy Residents complete clinical case presentations, an inservice to the SSM Health Physical Therapy colleagues, revisions of rehab guidelines with SLUCare physicians, and a scholarly product.

Must I be licensed to practice physical therapy in the state of Missouri?

Yes. You must have a Missouri state physical therapy license prior to beginning the residency in August.

Where will I practice if I am accepted to the program?

Residents who were not current SSM Health Physical Therapy employees upon acceptance to the Program practice for approximately six months at each of the two locations: SSM Health Physical Therapy and Saint Louis University's Physical Therapy Clinic. Residents who were current SSM Health Physical Therapy employees upon acceptance to the Program practice at their home clinic within SSM Health Physical Therapy.

What expenses can I expect to incur?

Residents are expected be a member of the APTA. Expenses include living, transportation, parking, APTA membership and conference fees. Learning materials such as additional texts, independent study course modules, computer access and suitable professional clothing should also be expected expenses.

Will I be paid?

Yes. Residents in this program are considered full time, benefited SSM Health Physical Therapy employees and are paid a competitive rate for their non-mentored hours of patient care and for their role in the entry-level courses at the SLU physical therapy program.