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OrthoCarolina Hand Therapy Residency Program Achieves Candidacy Status: 10 Things to Know

OrthoCarolina’s Hand Therapy Residency Program has achieved “candidacy” status, making it the only hand therapy residency in NC to achieve this level of certification and one of three hand therapy residencies in the country to be on track for full national accreditation.

Residency programs offer mentored learning, scholarship, continued didactic and clinical skills training to occupational therapists that have graduated and completed the requirements for licensure. Programs emphasize evidence based research and advocacy initiatives.  Those residency programs approved by the AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) last nine to 18 months and are generally based in medical organizations, hospital systems or schools.

Here are 10 things to know about OrthoCarolina’s Hand Therapy Residency Program, residency programs in general, and how they can benefit your health:

  1. The purpose of residency programs is to advance a medical provider’s performance and expertise in a focused area of practice, such as hand therapy, making them more specialized practitioners.
  2. Residency programs may differ as far as admissions process, curriculum, program and duration, but must keep central objectives and curriculum design consistent with guidelines and standards set forth by AOTA.
  3. AOTA accredits secondary and occupational therapy residency programs around the country.
  4. The accreditation process for occupational therapy residency programs by AOTA is rigorous and is a fairly new process.
  5. The process for OrthoCarolina to achieve candidacy status lasted 18 months and was led by Stacy Rumfelt,  OTR/L, OTD, CHT, CLT; director of the OrthoCarolina Hand Therapy Residency Program and Certified Hand Therapist.
  6. Candidacy status is a high honor and is one of the final steps in achieving full accreditation by AOTA.
  7. Only 6 occupational therapy residency programs in the United States have achieved full accreditation to date.
  8. OrthoCarolina is the only hand therapy program in North Carolina that has achieved “candidacy status”.
  9. The next step for the OrthoCarolina Hand Therapy Residency Program will be full accreditation. Currently there is only one hand therapy residency in the US that is accredited to date.  None exist in NC.
  10. OrthoCarolina’s first Hand Therapy resident graduation date: June 10, 2016.

What does candidacy status for the OrthoCarolina Hand Therapy Residency Program mean for you? It means that in the same clinics where you receive care, the top practitioners are training to become even more specialized and knowledgeable in hand therapy. And, it means that you have access to a growing team of hand therapists with top skills and expertise, who will help expedite your recovery from injury or surgery  in order that you may perform independent daily activities again.

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