Physical Therapy Residency Application Requirements - North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
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Physical Therapy Residency Application Requirements

Applications

Applicants are required to apply through RF-PTCAS**.

Important dates for the 2020 application cycle:

     Application deadline:   March 13, 2020
     Interviews:                 April 2020
     Notification of Status:  May 2020
     Projected Start Date:   July 1, 2020

Important dates for the 2021 application cycle:

     Application deadline:    March 2021
     Interviews:                 April 2021
     Notification of Status:  May 2021
     Projected Start Date:   July 2021

Residents are required to submit:

1.  Name, address, and phone number
2.  2 written essays
3.  2 letters of recommendation
4.  College and DPT school transcripts
5.  Resume/CV
6.  License (not required if pending NPTE)

Interviews will be granted to applicants demonstrating exemplary qualifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Am I eligible to apply for the Physical Therapy Residency Program?
A: Individuals interested in applying for the one of the physical therapy residency programs must meet the following criteria:
1.  Successful completion of a CAPTE accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy Program or CAPTE equivalent program if coming from another country
2.  Intended (or current) Physical Therapy Licensure in a state, territory or commonwealth of the United States
3.  US Citizenship
4.  Desire to attain an advanced skillset and specialty knowledge

Q: What is included in the curriculum?
A:
Geriatric Residency:  The curriculum of study and practice based methodology will be based on the available literature from the APTA and Geriatric Section. This includes available publications from the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP), Description of Residency Practice (DRP), Geriatric Certification Candidate Guide, and contemporary literature in geriatric health, medicine, and rehabilitation.

Orthopedic Residency: The formal curriculum is based on the APTA Orthopedic Section’s Current Concepts 4th Ed, which is the recommended study literature to sit for the national orthopedic board exam.  It is enhanced via additionally selected literature, coursework, and supplemental assignments. The combined orthopedic curriculum is also consistent with standards found in the Orthopedic DSP, DRP, and Orthopedic Certification Candidate Guide.

Q: Do I have to buy the curriculum?
A: No. The curriculum and related materials are purchased in your name, for you.

Q: Do you have a syllabus or schedule available to review?
A: Yes. The director will be happy to send the current academic year’s syllabus to you upon request.

Q: How much mentorship will I receive?
A: Mentorship hours will vary by week and module.  A majority of the mentorship will be direct and occurs during patient care; the remainder will be didactic, which will include education and skills practice. The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) requires a minimum of 100 hours of direct mentorship and 50 hours of didactic mentorship per resident, per year.  Based on past data, residents receive 4-6 hours of quality mentorship on a weekly basis, which significantly eclipses ABPTRFE requirements.

Q: What will my weekly schedule be like?
A: The resident will maintain a 40-hour workweek, of which a minimum of 32 hours will be related to direct patient care. Formal mentorship will occur at a minimum once weekly, with formal didactic training occurring at the same frequency. Residents will maintain 5 work days (8 hours daily), but it is expected some self-directed didactic review and reading will occur beyond the traditional 40 hour/week time frame. 

Q: How much time do I need to commit outside of my formal training?
A: This is highly variable based on the current position in the residency training, complexity of material being reviewed, and personal study habits. Most residents report 5, (sometimes up to 10, but this is infrequent) additional hours of study beyond what is available during the normal work week.

Q:Are the opportunities to mentor or teach?
A: Yes. Throughout the course of the residency, residents will have the opportunity to mentor and teach faculty/staff, co-residents, physical therapy students, and trainees from other disciplines. There will also be additional teaching responsibilities geared toward other disciplines in terms of presentations and case collaborations.

Q: Do I have to work weekends?
A: No.

Q: Is there opportunity to work ‘PRN’ or ‘moonlight?’
A:  There are no restrictions on working ‘PRN’ while training during your residency. However, attention to the training schedule and complexity/workload would be strongly encouraged prior to making the decision to work additionally.

Q: What are my patient productivity requirements?
A: Typically, residents will see 6-9 patients in an 8 hour day (varies based on location and type of training resident is current under).  Residents are not expected to maintain the same productivity as a staff therapist; this allows for the complete development of an accurate patient profile and  provides the resident the ability to develop an evidence derived treatment based on the objective findings noted in the examination.  This also gives the resident the opportunity to fully evaluate the effect of their intervention on the patient's dysfunction and discuss the findings with their mentor(s). 

Q: Do I need to be a member of the APTA?
A: Yes. As a requirement of the residency, you are required to maintain an active membership in the APTA including membership in the individual specialty academy sponsoring your training (i.e. Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy or Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy).

Q: Will I be eligible to sit for the ABPTS specialist exam at the end of the residency program?
A.  Yes. Graduates of the residency program will be eligible to sit for their respective national board exam.

Q:How do you compare yourself to other residency programs? Is there a national ranking? 
A: There is no ranking system for which we are aware. We don’t directly compare ourselves to other residency programs as doing so would deviate from our outlined mission/goals/objectives. We do collect data on outcomes: graduation rate, placement, board certification, etc... that can be reviewed and you can perform your own comparison with other programs you’re interested in applying to.

Q: I have student loans; does the residency qualify me for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program?
A: The Physical Therapy Residency does meet the definition for qualified employment as the VA is a Federal Agency, but it is important to note the timeline for completion of the residency and the rules associated with PSLF and continuous employment. For more information, please visit the US Department of Education’s PSLF page.

There are also general questions that interested applicants have that are specific to the VA, Gainesville, Residency Training, opportunities following graduation etc… We’ve compiled a list of general responses to the most common questions. If you have questions not covered below, reach out to the director to help answer your question. The director will also put you in touch with current and/or former residents to help with your questions as well.

Q: Why should I choose the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center for Residency Training?
A: From our former residents:

Dr. Susan Michet: Residency was the best professional decision I could have made following graduation from physical therapy school. When applying to residencies, this facility was my #1 choice due to the unparalleled amount of mentorship, the quality of the faculty and the effective structure of didactic education. The small size of the residency program (2 orthopedic residents, 1 geriatric resident per year) allows for ample personal attention and specialization to the residents’ needs. The patient population at this facility is often medically complex with psychosocial complications and is very diverse in background, age and physical capabilities. This lends unique challenges that allow the resident to become a competent clinician able to provide high quality of care in a variety of settings.

Dr. Emily Bartlett: “The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center is an excellent location to complete a physical therapy residency.  The facility itself has countless experiences to offer, including experiences in acute care, intensive care units, outpatient physical therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, and short term rehabilitation.  All of these experiences are located on the same campus.   This location also has residents, students, and trainees from several different disciplines that physical therapy residents have the opportunity to interact with during the program.”

Dr. Quanisha Burnett: “I chose to come to the Gainesville/Malcom Randall VA Medical Center for a physical therapy residency because it offered me multiple opportunities in one. Not only did I stand to gain advanced orthopedic knowledge from professional trained mentors with board specializations but I also was afforded unique federal employment experience that would open the door for permanent federal appointment. The Veteran’s Affairs is known for being patient driven and centered and so I knew that I would have hands-on experience and time to learn instead of being utilized as extra labor that can be associated with some private clinic residency programs.
The one thing I appreciated most is the mentors were always willing to go above and beyond their job duties to assist with me excelling in the program. I had the opportunity to work with complex orthopedic dysfunctions in multiple populations/settings including neurological, specialty hand clinic, women’s health, and amputee. Interdisciplinary treatment approaches were encouraged and often utilized. Collaborations with physician and other healthcare personnel were also facilitated.”

Dr. Tamara Chairez: “Near the end of my final year of PT school, I knew a physical therapy residency was the next best step to attain the professional excellence I was seeking.  There were many reasons that led me to choose Malcom Randall VA for my orthopedic physical therapy residency:  mentorship, communication, patient population, location, and opportunities.  I contacted multiple programs before applying to ask additional questions and found the program at MRVAMC to be the most responsive and helpful. This made for an excellent first impression and it showed effective communication which is key in any program.  I also had strong aspirations to work with veterans and a residency at the VA afforded me this unique opportunity; plus it allowed an opportunity to join the team at Malcom Randall.  The program went above and beyond what I expected and I am both immensely thankful and appreciative of the training.”

Dr. Ryan Powell: “Choosing to do a residency at the Gainesville VAMC was without a question the most valuable decision I've made in my young PT career. While some residencies will offer similar consistency with mentorship and training, the orthopedic residency at the Gainesville VAMC is the only one I'm aware of with the number of mentors readily available to discuss/challenge you on patient cases or scenarios and with the diverse breadth of knowledge amongst mentors to cover a wide array of orthopedic topics. This is only strengthened by each mentors' willingness and desire to make the residents better clinicians. Another reason the Gainesville VAMC stood out to me is that the structure of the residency is set up in a manner that permits in depth studying of patient/ortho topics and research articles while simultaneously carrying a caseload that mirrors your study material. This setup is advantageous for clinicians developing practice and examination patterns to be considered exceptional in orthopedic physical therapy care.”

Q: What opportunities have you had as a result of the training / what can I expect to be able to do after having gone through residency?
A: While this will be different for every graduate because of a multitude of factors, residents are trained for and are expected to perform at a level far beyond their peers. Please see selected answers below from graduates to gain an idea of some of the things they’ve done since graduation:

Dr. Quanisha Burnett: “In addition to working for the VA, I’ve had the opportunity to do so many things beyond what I ever dreamed following PT school. I’ve been able to work with professional athletes in the WNBA, NFL and AVP Pro Volleyball. Additionally, I’ve also been able to develop a multidisciplinary orthopedic clinic for individuals with spinal cord injuries and present at a national conference. Prior to residency I would have never had the confidence or knowledge to do these effectively.”

Dr. Jennifer Cuevas: “As a result of my residency training, I have developed both the skills and confidence required to be an advanced clinician with the ability to manage a wide range of very complex musculoskeletal problems. I have taken over as a clinical lead in our Accelerated Care Clinic. One major but very unexpected benefit is the sense of family and continued mentorship that is available to me even 4+ years after my graduation!  It is very reassuring knowing I can present a difficult case problem to the faculty for guidance or confirmation that my intended plan aligns with their thoughts.”

Dr. Ryan Powell: “As a result of undergoing the residency, I had the opportunity to train/teach students and other clinicians, had a better (and more trusting relationship with other providers within the healthcare, and had an advantage in knowledge relative to other clinicians when applying for other jobs. This has been apparent to me throughout my time since completing the residency in interactions with other providers and while applying for jobs.  “

Dr. Emily Bartlett: “I was able to present and educate faculty, residents and trainees from other disciplines regularly. I submitted and presented a poster on advanced balance and falls training and helped develop the tai chi testing and teaching protocol now being used in NFSG. Because of the training, I felt prepared to enter into any position following graduation and was looking at other VA positions nationally. Fortunately, I was offered a position at MRVAMC within the department where I am able to continue my growth as a member of the physical therapy staff and residency faculty.”

Q: What makes MRVAMC’s program different from other residency programs? What was your deciding factor to enroll?
A: From our former residents:

Dr. Emily Bartlett: “MRVAMC’s program is different from other residency programs because the faculty here individualize the learning experience to fit the residents’ level of experience and learning style to the best of their abilities.  Many of the mentors in the programs have been through a residency themselves so they have firsthand experience on how it feels to be a resident and what residents need to be successful.  Additionally, MRVAMC has different settings (inpatient, outpatient, short term rehab, vestibular rehab) for experiences all available on the same campus.  As a geriatric resident, I had the opportunity to rotate through all of these settings and learn from mentors who had extensive experience in each area.   The deciding factor for me to enroll was opportunity to learn in so many different settings all in one year.  It was the ultimate learning experience for me.”

Dr. Ryan Powell: “I would say most importantly, MRVAMC clearly strives to make the resident a much more informed, rounded, and experienced clinician at the completion of the residency. Obviously being appropriately set up to pass the specialty exam and obtain certification is important, but this can be obtained via didactic studying and test question review. The number of mentors and availability and willingness of said mentors to take whatever time necessary with the residents in order to further understand application of the expanding knowledge base is what stood out to me the most. Schedules are adjusted to make sure there is sufficient reflection on each case to better understanding what is going on with the patient and how theory and information can apply to make the outcome superior. In a residency, it is important for the resident to be placed in a situation where they are there to grow and not just study material to pass the test. Growth through mentorship and varied clinical exposure is exactly what the MRVAMC program is set up to accomplish.”

Dr. Alexandre Millette:  “Personally, I believe the smaller number of residents accepted is a strong component of the program.  Further, it is primarily geared toward developing clinical expertise rather than merely passing the board certification. Finally, when I was evaluating programs, I looked for programs that stressed scholarly activity rather than just paying me less to see a regular patient load.”

Dr. Stephanie Lewis: “The residency program truly embodies specialist clinical practice and will prepare you not only to excel on the board examination, but most importantly, it will prepare you to provide highest level of clinical practice to a variety of patients across all levels of complexity. I can say this as I have had the privilege of participating as both a physical therapy resident and mentor in my time at the VA. We are a diverse group from a wide range of training with a high level of achievement and clinical expertise.  We truly reach for excellence in all aspects of care. The residency program is a natural part of the progression.”

Dr. Anthony V Jones: “This residency program truly emphasizes quality over quantity. From day one this was the goal that was heavily underscored.  Many private sector residencies simply cannot offer the one on one care or mentorship that is provided at MRVAMC.  I did not want to undergo a residency at a volume based clinic. I was immediately drawn to the fact that my time/emphasis will be on training and not on productivity standards. I was also attracted to the curriculum. Since the outpatient clinic is connected to a medical center, the resident will have the opportunity to practice orthopedic physical therapy in an acute setting as part of a 12-week rotation. Other unique opportunities exist as well. The residency program has a wonderful working relationship with the University of Florida and their top 10 DPT program. The resident will get the opportunity to observe pediatric physical therapy treatments at UF Health and mentor UF DPT students during clinical visits and at their free pro-bono physical therapy clinic. In addition, the physical therapy resident will perform rotations in an outpatient occupational therapy clinic alongside certified hand therapists. Many unique experiences are planned in the curriculum to give the resident the best possible experience and learn as much as possible in the specialty of orthopedics.”

Dr. Jennifer Cuevas: “The orthopedic residency at Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center offered several benefits over other programs I looked into. One of the most important was having multiple mentors that gave various approaches and thought processes to the same problem. This allows for you to have several tools in your bag which comes in handy when your current approach may not be benefitting the patient as much.  Also, working with the veteran population provides a unique opportunity to serve those who have served our country.”


Q: What is there to do in Gainesville, FL?
A: From our former residents:

Dr. Anthony V. Jones: “Gainesville’s centralized location allows you to be close to many attractions when not hitting the books. The University of Florida’s athletic programs are consistently rated among the best in the nation—there’s always a sporting event to attend.  Gainesville is two hours from Orlando attractions and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. North Central Florida also has many opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. With its mild climate, outdoor activities are a reality all year round. This area hosts one of the largest densities  of natural fresh water springs in the world. Ginnie Springs is world famous for cave diving. If salt water is your thing, the beach is accessible within an hour or two drive either east of west.”

Dr. Susan Michet: “Gainesville is both an affordable and a very attractive place to live. It is within easy access of endless outdoor adventures including paddling, the beach, fishing, snorkeling, hiking and camping. Both Florida coasts are within an hour or two and the region has many rivers, lakes and springs great for recreation. Although Gainesville is a smaller mid-size city, the University of Florida and the local community offer continuous cultural, musical and educational events to participate in – it is quite difficult to be bored! Gainesville is also located within an easy drive of larger metropolitan areas such as Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa for additional resources.

Dr. Jennifer Cuevas: “It doesn’t make a difference because you’ll be studying. I’m kidding…mostly. When you’re not engaged in academic work, there is plenty to do. There are a ton of outdoor activities: hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, scalloping, etc… There is plenty to choose from at the University of Florida (most of these activities are free). Staff/faculty within the department regularly participate in group workouts at the stadium and barracks (and residents are always invited to attend). There are also a few happy hours and dinners thrown in throughout the year.”

Please feel free to contact the Residency Director, Dr. Mark Carberry, for any additional questions about the residency or application process at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center.

Mark K. Carberry, DPT, OCS, COMT
Physical Therapy Residency Program Director
Mark.Carberry@va.gov
(352) 376-1611 ext 104127

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