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School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences

Orthopaedic Therapy Residency

Orthopaedic Residency Curriculum FAQ

The USF Health SPT&RS Orthopaedic Residency program uses the APTA Orthopaedic Section’s Residency Curriculum. The resident must be a member of the APTA Orthopaedic Section. USF Health SPT&RS pays the registration fee for this curricular package. Each residency faculty supplements the Independent Study Courses (ISCs) with current evidence. The resident has allocated didactic learning hours to meet with residency faculty each week. Additionally, residents complete all readings as part of their “home study” hours.
The USF Health SPT&RS Orthopaedic Residency program has developed a clinical skills competency checklist for each body region based on the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Description of Specialty Practice (DSP). Residents attain new skills through practice with the didactic faculty and residency mentors.
Residents should expect to treat patients in the clinic approximately 27 hours per week, depending on the resident’s other assigned activities.
Residency faculty continuously mentor residents throughout the year. Residents and their mentors meet on a 1:1 basis for a minimum of 4 hours every week, consistent with American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) evaluative criteria. These mentoring sessions include patient discussion, patient management (co-treatment), as well as skill and clinical reasoning development.
Teaching hours vary, depending on the semester and course the resident is assigned to teach, but may range from 4-8 hours per week. Academic teaching is assigned during the final third of the residency program. Teaching responsibilities are limited to the teaching assistant/lab instructor role, whose responsibilities include hands on assistance in labs, setting up equipment for the class, and may involve 1 or 2 lectures.
The USF Health SPT&RS Orthopaedic Residency program is designed to expose residents to the majority of specialties within the realm of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Outside physical therapy experiences are scheduled to expose residents to specialties that are not commonly seen in our clinic. Additionally, residents choose an elective, covering an area of interest, as part of their didactic learning.
Requirements for successful completion include passing two written and oral exams, as well as three live patient exams (LPE). In addition, each resident must complete a case study suitable for submission for publication or presentation at a state or national meeting.
The Orthopaedic Residency program is accredited through the ABPTRFE; its curriculum is structured around the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy DSP readiness guidelines, emphasizing the concepts and knowledge required for the OCS examination. Acquired resident hours do count toward the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties’ (ABPTS) time requirements to take the OCS exam. One year of residency in the USF Health SPT&RS Orthopaedic Residency program will satisfy the requirements for the OCS exam.
Residents are eligible to apply for the ABPTS Orthopaedic Specialist Certification (OCS) exam while in the program. Those currently holding the OCS designation may be eligible to use completion of the program to fulfill re-certification requirements.
The USF Health SPT&RS appreciates the efforts of working physical therapists to advance the quality and knowledge of their careers for both patient and professional benefits. However, we are able to offer our residency programs as a full-time experience only. The time required for completing the program precludes other part-time or full-time work, so residents are not permitted to hold other employment.
Currently, residents practice at the USF Health Physical Therapy Center.
USF Health SPT&RS Orthopaedic Residency program is a university-based program that provides residents with a comprehensive curriculum of didactic and clinical education that will transform them into evidence-based practitioners who are ready and able to advance patient care and the physical therapy profession. Residents will receive 1:1 mentorship, utilize advanced knowledge courses and participate in seminar discussions, participate in Orthopaedic and Internal Medicine clinics, and gain experience in academic teaching through the SPT&RS Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The resident will also engage in self-directed learning and community service as a preceptor for DPT students in the pro bono BRIDGE Clinic. In addition to clinical practice, our residents are trained with a focus on education, research, and leadership.
The USF Health SPT&RS residency faculty and mentors are either Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialists or content area experts. The residency faculty comprises both SPT&RS academic and clinical faculty members. (Please see faculty bios.)

Since receiving its accreditation in 2016, all residents in the USF Health Orthopaedic Residency Program have demonstrated:       

  • Completion of the residency program within the 13-month time frame
  • Have applied for, sat, and passed the ABPTS Orthopaedic Clinical Specialization Exam
  • Successful completion of the APTA’s Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program Level 1
  • Completion of a case report appropriate for dissemination.