Residency Strengthening Care

Kurt Gottlieb DPT '15 discusses physical therapy concepts with a Bradley student. (Photo by Matt Hawkins)

Matt Hawkins
January 25, 2016

Bradley’s recently accredited residency for graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program equips new professionals with unique clinical experiences, strategically places them on the doorstep of specialist certification and delivers improved care.

Through mentorship, on-the-job training and teaching experiences, the program prepares residents for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties orthopedic clinical specialist exam in 13 months that may take practitioners several years on their own.

The residency, open only to Bradley DPT graduates, is one of three physical therapy programs in Illinois — and the only one outside Chicago — to offer the holistic learning experience.

“We are able to see the way patients improve through the care of residency-trained therapists,” said Assistant Professor Dr. Cheryl Sparks. “Residency programs make patients improve faster, and that’s what we want.”

Operated in conjunction with Illinois Neurological Institute at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, residents work at hospital-based outpatient facilities, where they’re partnered with OSF mentors. Residents also dedicate part of their time each week to teaching Bradley students.

This training meets the detailed 2,000-hour ABPTS clinical specialist exam’s practice requirement and adds other beneficial learning experiences that result in high patient outcomes rates.

Current resident Kurt Gottlieb DPT ’15, enrolled in the program because he wanted to build his professional practice on the best knowledge available. Conversations with mentor Paul Bennett DPT ’12 anchored the experience, as dialogue brought about optimal solutions to patient care concerns.

“With the information I’ve picked up through Paul, I’ve been able to incorporate new evidence-based practice,” Gottlieb said. “That’s invaluable knowledge I’ll be able to model my career after.”

Bennett watched the residency develop from infancy as the first graduate and now as a mentor. The program kept him sharp as he worked to stay current on medical best practices. He also saw firsthand the significance of working in a hospital with physical therapy experts.

“You’re not just going to see someone lecture,” he said. “Instead, you’re working with people at the top of the field as you go through patient cases. That keeps us up to date with the latest medical knowledge.”

Current and former residents are making positive impacts on the Peoria area. They actively engage community organizations looking for information about related health matters. Additionally, all program graduates found employment nearby.

“Those successes draw patients here, and they will be able to get better faster,” Bennett said. “Patients who see therapists from this program will get the best treatments available.”