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Neurologic physical therapy residency

VA Puget Sound Health Care System offers licensed physical therapists a year-long advanced practice residency in neurologic physical therapy.

Our residency program

Our residency program is in candidacy status with a plan to achieve accreditation through the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) in 2024. This program (funded by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations) offers 2 salaried resident positions annually with leave and medical benefits.  Our post-graduate residency focuses on developing skills in the evaluation and treatment of the neurologic population through structured mentoring (150+ hours), didactic education (300+ hours), and interprofessional practice collaboration. Learning opportunities occur in VA Puget Sound’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit and Rehabilitation Care Service, and at Madigan Army Medical Center’s Intrepid Spirit Center for active-duty service members who have sustained traumatic brain injuries and vestibular disorders.  Residents who successfully complete an ABPTRFE accredited program are eligible to sit for the Neurologic Clinical Specialist exam.  

Accreditations and programs

VA Puget Sound Health Care System accreditations

CARF Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Hospital:

  • Spinal Cord Specialty Program (Adults)
  • Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program (CIIRP)

CARF Interdisciplinary Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Program in:

  • Spinal Cord Specialty Program (Adults)
  • Amputee Specialty Program (Adults)
  • Stroke (Adults)
  • Blind Rehabilitation

VA Puget Sound nationally recognized programs

  • Center of Excellence for MS
  • ALS Association Certified Center of Excellence
  • Northwest Regional Amputation Center and the Northwest Parkinson’s Disease Research, Clinical Education Center (PADRECC along with Portland)

VA Puget Sound’s Rehabilitation Care and Spinal Cord Injury services provide a full complement of teaching levels, including advanced practice spinal cord injury medical fellowship, quality and safety fellowship, chiropractic residency, clinical psychology internship, and rehabilitation psychology fellowship. This allows the physical therapy resident ample opportunity for advanced practice interprofessional learning experiences.


The mission of the VA Puget Sound Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency program is to support the Veterans Integrated Services Network and facility missions to honor Veterans with world class health care by preparing neurologic physical therapists with advanced knowledge and clinical practice, teaching, and leadership skills in the area of neurologic physical therapy. These residents in turn will provide outstanding service to Veterans with neurological diagnoses. The program will be active in continuous improvement processes and strategic initiatives to assure program excellence and sustainability.

Program goal and outcomes


This residency program will contribute to the mission and goals of VA Puget Sound by providing advanced evidence-based education and experiences to residents in neurologic physical therapy and rehabilitation care.  Specifically,

  • Recruit high quality, dedicated, and motivated candidates with a passion to advance the physical therapy profession and the potential to become board-certified professionals.
  • Educate residents for successful completion of the neurologic clinical specialty examination (i.e., APTA board certification).
  • Train residents to become fully capable of contributing to the physical therapy practice and health care through active roles in clinical practice, clinical education, and patient advocacy.
  • Cultivate a workplace environment to retain successful graduates within the local Federal health care community.
  • Maintain approval and funding by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations through demonstrated high quality outcomes.
  • Maintain sufficient faculty staffing with teaching knowledge and depth of experience to ensure high quality outcomes.
  • Maintain ABPTRFE accreditation requirements for VA Puget Sound.


We are a new program currently pursuing accreditation in candidacy status through ABPTRFE.  As of this time, we do not have any outcomes to report. We plan to publish graduation rates, board pass rates, and hire into VA rates once we have achieved accreditation and recruited our first resident.

Residency curriculum and experiences

Our curriculum is composed of paced modules reflective of areas of importance in the care of the patient with neurologic dysfunction. The modules are comprised of independent readings, 1:1 didactic instruction, and integrated learning projects with opportunities for teaching, research and community service. These modules compliment weekly mentored advanced clinical practice in assessment and treatment of neurologic diagnoses.

Spinal Cord Injury Service (21 weeks)

  • Inpatient acute rehabilitation
  • Inpatient secondary complications
  • Wounds
  • Respiratory care
  • Annual health evaluation/screening
  • Outpatient
  • Home safety and equipment evaluations
  • Telehealth
  • ICU
  • Wheelchair and equipment prescription

RCS Acute/Inpatient Service (9 weeks)

  • ICU
  • Acute care floors
  • Inpatient Rehab
  • Medically complex

Spirit Intrepid Center at Madigan Army Medical Center (8 weeks)

  • Outpatient whole health focused
  • TBI post concussive syndrome
  • Vestibular

RCS Outpatient (14 weeks)

  • Neurology outpatient
  • MS clinic
  • ALS clinic
  • Movement disorders clinic
  • Telehealth
  • Home care evaluation
  • Interdisciplinary mobility clinic

Additional experiences

  • Webinars
  • Readings: articles, clinical practice guidelines and textbooks
  • Journal club
  • Interdisciplinary didactics
  • Opportunities to observe specialty clinics: wheelchair clinic, movement disorder clinic, prosthetics and orthotics, ergonomic assessments, EMG clinic, Botox injections, surgery and acupuncture

    Residency completion checklist

    This is a list of all components to the residency program that must be completed prior to graduating from this program.

    • At least 1,500 hours clinical care
    • At least 150 hours of mentoring hours, of which at least 100 hours must have the patient present and the resident as the primary provider
    • At least 300 hours of didactic educational hours (may be completed outside of tour of duty)
    • Complete the needs assessment (APTA self-assessment or MedBridge Assessment)
    • Provide self-assessment on preferred learning styles to mentors
    • Daily log to track exposure to the diagnoses listed in DRP during clinical hours
    • Daily log of productivity
    • Fill out mentoring forms prior to 1:1 mentoring sessions with patient present
    • Provide at least four presentations on specialist-level material
    • Pass all written examinations
    • Pass four written case reports
    • Pass four live patient practical examinations
    • Pass all graded clinical analyses
    • Achieve at least a level of 7 “Advanced Practitioner” on the clinical competency by end of the program
    • Perform quarterly chart audits of DPT student with provision of feedback
    • Provide DPT student education sessions with provision of feedback
    • Satisfactory achievement on a scholarly project
    • Complete service to profession and provide a written reflection to the program director
    • Participate in greater than five journal club sessions
    • Provide a weekly email update to residency team outlining progress toward objectives, didactic material and program goals in a SOAP note format or other structured format as assigned by clinical/program director
    • Complete the APTA Level 1 Clinical Instructor course
    • Complete feedback forms for each primary mentor
    • Complete feedback form for program director
    • Provide feedback form for residency program
    • Perform exit interview

    The following items are highly recommended for completion (graduation from the program not contingent on completion):

    • Attend at least one national conference or approved course that covers specialist level material
    • Sign up for specialist certification examination
    • Provide follow up communication through one-year post residency survey (graduate outcome survey)

    Benefits and costs

    • $57,525 salary (current 2023 amount)
    • No tuition
    • APTA Level 1 Clinical Instructor course costs (paid by resident)
    • Health insurance
    • Paid leave days: 13 vacation; 13 sick; 11 federal holidays
    • Personal workspace and computer
    • Scrubs
    • Office supplies/support personnel
    • Medical Media services
    • Medical Library access
    • Free parking
    • Teaching experience

    Applicant requirements

    • U.S. citizenship
    • Graduation from a CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education) accredited program
    • English language proficiency
    • Unrestricted state licensure to practice physical therapy in a state, territory or commonwealth of the U.S or the District of Columbia, or demonstrated plan to achieve licensure before the start date of the residency
    • APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) chapter and section membership
    • Completion of all resident checklist requirements (see below) within a 12-month time frame

    How to apply

    ABPTRFE has granted our program candidacy status. Candidacy status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation. Achieving candidacy status is not an indication that ABPTRFE will grant initial accreditation. Participants who graduate from a program in candidacy status are not deemed to have completed an accredited program. VA Puget Sound's goal is to achieve initial accreditation within this year's (2023-24) program.

    VA Puget Sound uses the APTA Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS).   Apply at the RF-PTCAS ( Applications will be accepted and reviewed, followed by interviews of applicants on a rolling basis starting in early February 2023. Offers to selected applicants will be given until both residency positions are filled. The program starts July 3, 2023.

    Pease contact Valerie Short, PT, MS or Elaine Roger, PT, ATP at or if you have any questions.