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UF Health Shands and UF Department of Physical Therapy Residency Programs

Congratulations on taking the first step towards excellence in advanced clinical practice!

Shands and the Academic Health Center.The primary purpose of a residency in Physical Therapy is to provide you with the optimal opportunity to develop superior practice skills.  Our clinical residencies are designed to substantially advance your expertise in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients in a defined area of clinical practice. In addition, we expect you to gain an in-depth understanding of the science underlying clinical techniques while incorporating an evidence-based practice approach.

The development of exceptional physical therapist professionals who will demonstrate excellence in clinical practice as well as advance the practice of physical therapy forward is our primary goal.  This goal goes beyond guiding you to become a skilled and evidence-based practitioner.  Our intention is to also promote and engender strategic skills denoting professional excellence and effectiveness.  Consequently we have incorporated select learning opportunities in professional leadership, clinical research methods, academic teaching, public speaking and community service.

Your Clinical Experience

Your clinical experience will be under the mentorship of an APTA certified specialist in your area of practice interest.  Other clinicians with focused areas of expertise will also contribute to expanding and diversifying your skill set.  The residencies promote interaction with other health professionals including physicians, surgeons, radiologists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists and respiratory therapists, etc., depending upon your focus area. Experiences beyond the physical therapy clinic include observing physicians during office hours and surgery, participation in grand rounds, attendance at rehabilitation research seminars, and shadowing expert physical therapists and other health professionals in niche practice settings.  You will also have the ability to request experiences that are of special interest to you, or are unique to our facilities.

Your Academic Experience

An academic curriculum has been designed for each residency with the APTA guidelines for specialization and current evidence-based standards of practice serving as its basis.   You will   attend didactic lectures and labs intended to: 1) provide you with advanced knowledge and understanding of the basic sciences related to your area of practice; 2) explore the current evidence supporting current practice patterns; and 3) practice and perfect advanced clinical techniques.  Your faculty will be comprised of UF academic faculty and Shands clinical specialists and practitioners.

Your Research Experience

Each resident will be given the opportunity to develop a research question or activity that will be peer-reviewed, submission-ready by the end of the residency.  Several case reports, case series, and RCTs have all been generated and disseminated by our former residents.  A research mentor will be assigned to you and will guide you through each step of the clinical research process.  Also, many opportunities exist to participate or shadow the UF faculty’s research activities.

Your Teaching Experience

As the old adage goes, the best way to master a subject is to teach it.  Each resident is expected to serve as a UF DPT teaching assistant in a lecture/lab course that is consistent with your residency goals.  During the course you will function primarily as a lab assistant, but also have the opportunity to lecture on a particular topic.  You will receive coaching and resources from the primary instructor of the course.  Not only will you gain improved mastery of the material, but you will acquire public speaking and teaching skills as well.

Your Community Service Experience

Many community service opportunities are on-going within the UF Health Shands/UF physical therapy community.  A priority in this residency program is that you serve a leadership/mentor role in our pro bono clinic, the Equal Access Clinic.  This clinic is operated by DPT students under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.  In this environment you will have the opportunity to serve the Gainesville community as well as to develop mentorship and leadership skills while overseeing students.

Additional Professional Development Opportunities

You will be given financial support to attend a national conference with your mentors.  Your mentors will orient and guide you through the national conference experience including educational opportunities, current research platforms, networking and contacts, and the workings of our professional organization.  In addition, you will be invited to attend and participate in state level FPTA organizational meetings and House of Delegates.