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Neurologic physical therapy residency

VA Puget Sound Health Care System will soon accept applications for our developing Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program with plans to apply for candidacy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education.

VA Puget Sound Health Care System will soon accept applications for our developing Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program with plans to apply for candidacy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education. Our year-long post-graduate residency focuses on developing skills in the evaluation and treatment of the neurologic population through structured mentoring (150+ hours), didactics, and collaborative, interprofessional practice. Learning opportunities occur in VA Puget Sound’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Rehabilitation Care Service (acute care, rehab unit and outpatient including specialty clinics in multiple sclerosis, ALS and stroke and Parkinson’s), and Madigan Army Medical Center’s Intrepid Spirit Center for active-duty service members who have sustained TBI and vestibular disorders.

Open to two residents annually, our program prepares you to practice advanced physical therapy and sit for the certified neurologic clinical specialist exam. Residents will manage a 32-hour patient caseload and have eight hours weekly to dedicate to self-study and a robust didactic curriculum that will be supplemented with access to Institute of Knowledge Translation and MedBridge webinars. In addition to weekly clinical practice, residents will receive mentoring sessions with highly experienced clinical staff at a minimum of four hours a week. The no-tuition program also provides a $47,937 stipend (current 2022 amount subject to change) to selected residents.

VA Puget Sound holds CARF accreditations in the following: Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs - Hospital: Spinal Cord Specialty Program (Adults), and CIIRP; Interdisciplinary Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Program: Spinal Cord Specialty Program (Adults), Amputee Specialty Program (Adults), Stroke (Adults) and Blind Rehabilitation. VAPSHCS is recognized nationally as a Center of Excellence for MS, and an ALS Association Certified Center of Excellence. Additionally, VAPSHCS serves as the Northwest Regional Amputation Center and the Northwest Parkinson’s Disease Research, Clinical Education Center (PADRECC along with Portland). VAPSHCS Rehabilitation Care Service and Spinal Cord injury Service provide a full complement of teaching levels to include advanced practice medical fellowships in Spinal Cord Injury, and Quality/safety, a Chiropractic residency, Internship in Clinical Psychology, and Fellowship in Rehabilitation Psychology allowing the PT resident ample opportunity for 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

Fully prepare residents to practice advanced physical therapy and sit for the certified neurologic clinical specialist exam.

Program outcomes

As a developing program we will post outcome data as it becomes available.

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.

Designated learning experiences

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 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

Resident 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 APTA’s credentialed 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)


  • $47,937 stipend (current 2022 amount subject to change)
  • No tuition
  • 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

How to apply

We expect to accept applications early 2023 for our 2023 program. So be sure to check back!

Should you have any questions, please contact Valerie Short, PT, MS or Elaine Roger, PT, ATP at or