Orthopaedic Residency Program

The orthopaedic residency program prepares licensed physical therapists from SAU with advanced knowledge and clinical practice skills in the specialty area of orthopaedic physical therapy.

The Physical Therapy Department of St. Ambrose University (SAU) began offering a clinical residency program in orthopaedic physical therapy in 2006. This 12-month, post-professional program is based upon the criteria set forth for credentialing by the American Physical Therapy Association and the Description of Specialty Practice in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy.

Currently, this program is only offered for students graduating from the professional DPT Program at St. Ambrose University. The residency builds upon the 114 semester hours of graduate credit completed in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Program Mission

The mission of the SAU orthopaedic residency program is to prepare licensed physical therapists with advanced knowledge and clinical practice skills in the specialty area of orthopaedic physical therapy. Further, the program will enhance clinical reasoning skills, provide experience in teaching and presenting, reinforce use of best evidence in practice, and facilitate life-long learning.

Therapists that successfully complete the 6-course sequence may use the designation MTC - Manual Therapist Certified.

For more information, contact Kevin Farrell, PT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT at farrellkevin@sau.edu or 563/333-6405. You can also contact the PT Office at 563/333-6403.

Residency Curriculum

The curriculum consists of a series of nine classes including radiology, advanced musculoskeletal therapeutics, teaching practicum, and mentored clinical blocks. The program utilizes classroom and laboratory training relevant to the specialty area, as well as study groups, case presentations, clinical research, staff supervision and community service. The program will be completed over a twelve-month period with a new residency class beginning the spring semester each year.

A critical aspect of the program involves clinical mentoring of residents while they are involved in performing patient care. Residents are mentored by academic and clinical faculty who possess advanced clinical skills (board specialty certification or fellowship credentials), expertise in teaching, and involvement in scholarly and professional activities.

The clinical component of the residency is currently being offered in collaboration with Rock Valley Physical Therapy, Genesis Medical Center and Edward Hospital.

Residents also participate in an elective course on pain neuroscience education with Dr. Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a clinical residency?
A clinical residency program is a carefully planned, post-professional clinical and didactic education experience designed to advance the resident's preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice. It combines opportunities for ongoing clinical supervision and mentoring with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry.

Residency programs focus on furthering the resident's expertise in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and the management of patients within the area of clinical specialization. By participating in a residency program, therapists gain many of the experiences needed to apply for clinical specialization through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

What is a clinical fellowship?
A clinical fellowship is a planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education for physical therapists who demonstrate clinical expertise in a learning experience in an area of clinical practice related to the practice focus of the fellowship. (Fellows are frequently post-residency prepared or board-certified specialists.)

What is the difference between a residency and a clinical fellowship program?
A clinical residency program is designed to substantially advance a resident's expertise in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients in a defined area of clinical practice (specialty).

The residency experience often prepares an individual to become a board-certified clinical specialist. In contrast, a fellowship program is designed to provide greater depth in a specialty or subspecialty area than that which is covered in a residency program.

Additionally, participants in a clinical fellowship program must be licensed as a physical therapist and possess one or more of the following qualifications: 1) specialist certification, 2) completion of a residency in a specialty area, or 3) demonstrable clinical skills within a particular specialty area.


Kevin Farrell, PT, PhD

Physical Therapy
Center for Health Sciences Education
1320 W. Lombard St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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