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Most therapists in a medical organization have already been practicing in the clinic for a year or more, but residency programs like the Physical Therapy Residency program or the OrthoCarolina Hand Therapy Residency Program can help increase professional satisfaction, sharpen and enhance clinical skills, and enable a deeper, more comprehensive grasp of physical therapy. Under the guidance of a mentor residents will increase and strengthen their knowledge base, and going through a residency program can even set them up for a future physical therapy leadership position.

The OrthoCarolina Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy combines ongoing clinical mentoring with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry. Kyle Kolkmann, DPT and spine specialist with OrthoCarolina Ballantyne was the first resident in the OrthoCarolina Physical Therapy Residency Program. He shared some of his insight into how the program works and why it was the program for him.

Why did you choose the OrthoCarolina Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy?

I chose to participate in the OrthoCarolina residency in order to learn from the best providers that OC has to offer. I wanted to expand the knowledge base, skill set, and expertise that is commonly accepted among newer grad PTs. In other words, I wanted to be better at what I do!

Describe the program to someone who may not be familiar with it:

It is a post-graduate 18-month orthopedic specialty program providing advanced education and manual therapy skills for all body regions treated by PTs. The 18 months is comprised of individual 4-6 week modules for each body region emphasizing examination, diagnostics, and treatment. The residency culminates in a formal capstone project consisting of a clinical research paper. The paper can be done on any topic of interest within orthopedics, for example, I examined the effects of spinal manipulation on muscle activation patterns in a shoulder impingement syndrome patient population.

What’s the ultimate goal of the program?

The ultimate goal of this program would be to pass the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties board certification in orthopedic physical therapy specialist examination. Our program attempts to tailor the material towards passing this exam. Passing the exam and obtaining the “OCS” certification creates further designation within the PT community.

What are the benefits as a PT to be a resident in this program?

Along with modules for each body region, electives are offered in two to four-week blocks ranging from spinal manipulation, late stage return to sports rehab, neurodynamics, or dry needling. This allows for further expertise within one’s declared sub-specialty.

What are some difficulties residents may encounter?

Life/work balance can be challenging, as the program can be time-consuming with assigned readings, article reviews, case studies, and written/practical examinations.

What you plan to do after you finish the program? What is your career path?

I want to get involved in the teaching component of the residency as well as continue my efforts in clinical research. I am in the beginning phase of conducting a larger research trial looking again at spinal manipulations effect on muscle activation patterns in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome.

More information on the OrthoCarolina Physical Therapy Residency Program

The OrthoCarolina Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy is an 18 month, post-professional clinical and didactic education experience designed for physical therapists who wish to significantly advance their preparation as a specialty provider of orthopedic patient care services. This residency combines ongoing clinical mentoring with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry.

“The mission of the OrthoCarolina Residency in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy is to provide excellence in education one clinician at a time. Through both experiential and didactic learning, this program will develop master clinicians who possess self-reflective, innovative clinical reasoning skills.”

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