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Physical Therapy

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Physical Therapy Program
Nova Southeastern University
3200 S. University Drive
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33328
800-356-0026, ext. 21662

For more information, use our contact form.

Physical Therapy Residency Programs

Nova Southeastern University currently offers two residency programs:

  • Nova Southeastern University-Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hopsital (NSU-PRH) Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency. NSU-PRH Neurologic PT Residency Program is accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association as a postprofessional residency program for physical therapists in neurology.
  • Physical Therapy Faculty Residency Program has achieved candidate status for accreditation through APTA. Though achievement of candidate status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be accredited.

For More Information Please Contact:

Melissa M. Tovin, P.T., M.A., Ph.D., PCS
Director of Post-Professional Clinical Advancement
Associate Professor 

Residency Programs Vision Statement

Nova Southeastern University will distinguish itself as a premier provider of post-professional residency education in the United States.



The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a national professional organization representing more than 80,000 members throughout the United States, established the specialist certification program in 1978. Specialization is the process by which a physical therapist builds on a broad base of professional education and practice to develop a greater depth of knowledge and skills related to a particular area of practice. Clinical specialization in physical therapy responds to a specific area of patient need and requires knowledge, skill, and experience exceeding that of the physical therapist at entry to the profession and unique to the specialized area of practice.

The specialist certification program was established to provide formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in a special area of practice and to assist consumers and the health care community in identifying these physical therapists.

For more information on physical therapy specialist certification visit:

A clinical residency program in physical therapy is a postprofessional planned learning experience in a focused area of clinical practice. Similar to the medical model, a clinical residency program is a structured educational experience (both didactic and clinical) for physical therapists following entry-level education and licensure that is designed to significantly advance the physical therapist's knowledge, skills, and attributes in a specific area of clinical practice (i.e. Cardiovascular/Pulmonary, Orthopedics, Sports, Pediatrics, etc). It combines opportunities for ongoing clinical mentoring, with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry based on a Description of Specialty Practice (see definition below) or valid analysis of practice for that specific area of clinical practice. When board certification exists through ABPTS for that specialty, the residency training prepares the physical therapist to pass the certification examination following graduation.

For more general information on physical therapy residency programs visit:

Overview of the Neurologic Residency Curriculum

The 12 month residency program will begin in August/September. The resident must successfully complete all residency requirements to be eligible to apply for the ABPTS Neurologic Specialist exam. The resident will apply for the specialty exam during the last moth of the residency program and will sit for the exam in following March. 

Academic Coursework: Coursework is provided in a self-directed, continuing education format with courses delivered predominately online using Blackboard. The resident will complete a total of 7 courses focusing on content based on the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) in neurology.  Courses are between 12 and 21 weeks long and the resident will take 2-3 courses per trimester. Residents can expect to spend an average of at least 5 hours per week on didactic coursework for a total of at least 260 hours during the 12 month residency. See below for an outline of the didactic curriculum. Additional didactic experiences will be assigned on an individual basis as needed.

  • PTCE 0050   Fundamentals of Neurologic Specialty Practice
  • PTCE 0051   Evidence-Based Practice and Outcome Measurement in Expert Practice
  • PTCE 0062   Professional Roles in Expert Practice
  • PTCE 0060   Contemporary Management of Central Nervous System Injury
  • PTCE 0061   Contemporary Management of Degenerative/Demyelinating Diseases
  • PTCE 0071   Special Topics in Neurorehabilitation
  • PTCE 0072   Independent Study: Research Project

Clinical Practice: Residents will be employed 32 hours per week at Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital and are expected to carry a full patient caseload consisting of neurologically impaired patients. Clinical mentorship is provided by residency program faculty, at least 3 hours per week. Clinical mentoring may include collaborative patient care and discussion of patient cases between mentor and resident.  

  • Minimum of 1500 hours over 12 months of which 150 are mentored hours
  • 32 hours per week independent clinical practice of which 3 are mentored hours

Teaching/Scholarship:  Residents are expected to participate in teaching/instruction of basic neurologic skills for entry-level physical therapy students at NSU as part of their academic coursework. Residents are also responsible for providing physical therapy related education to peers and staff at the hospital. Residents will complete a scholarly project such as a pilot research study, clinical case report or faculty driven research project in the area of neurologic physical therapy which may be presented and/or published in a peer reviewed format.

  • Total of 100 hours of teaching responsibilities over 12 months

Evaluation of Learning

Resident learning will be evaluated using a variety of methods including:

  • Multiple choice tests/quizzes
  • Completion of case studies
  • Research article critique/analysis
  • Practical examinations to evaluate clinical skills
  • Completion of a research project/case report  
  • Feedback from clinical mentors

Requirements for Successful Completion of the Program

Requirements for successful completion of the neurological residency program include:

  • The resident will consistently meet or exceed standards required for employment at Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital during the residency program.
  • Resident must complete a minimum of 1,500 hours in direct patient care with patients with neurological diagnoses
  • Resident must successfully complete all courses with an 80% or better, including written and live patient practical examinations
  • The resident will pass a final comprehensive written exam at the end of the program with an 80% or better.
  • Resident must complete a scholarly project with plan for dissemination


Minimum requirements for eligibility:

  • Currently hold or be eligible for physical therapy licensure in the state of Florida1
  • Graduated from a CAPTE accredited physical therapy program2
  • Must be eligible for employment at Pinecrest Rehab Hospital
  • Submit a complete application by published deadline
  • Participate in an interview with admissions committee (for selected candidates)
  • Must have access to a computer which will support required components of Blackboard (ie. Javascript, cookies,  Java Runtime Environment)

1Prospective residents who will be new graduates at the start of the residency program may apply for acceptance to the neurologic residency program pending sitting for  the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), however, continued participation in the residency program will be contingent on passing the licensure exam.

2New graduates (defined as a physical therapists practicing in the clinic for less than 1 year) applying to the neurological residency program will need to provide transcripts to demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 or above in entry-level PT coursework is preferred.  

Preferred attributes include:

  • Current member of the APTA
  • Exhibit leadership qualities, effective communication skills and evidence of motivation, accountability and self-directed behavior
  • Display strong written and oral communication skills
  • Effective use of critical thinking in clinical situations using sound rationale for choices 
  • Demonstrate experience conducting research (ie. case reports, faculty guided research, data collection, data analysis, etc.)
  • Evidence of high academic achievement (for new graduates)
  • Completion of at least 1 clinical internship in a primarily neurological setting

Goal #1: The resident will demonstrate the highest standard of legal, ethical and professional behavior.

Objectives: The resident will:

  1. Analyze legal and ethical issues affecting the practice of neurologic physical therapy.
  2. Display cultural competency in all areas of clinical practice. 
  3. Exhibit effective oral and written communication with patients, families, caregivers, clinical faculty, administration, physicians, and other members of the health care team.
  4. Accept feedback from clinical faculty and other members of the residency program team without defensiveness and integrate feedback in future practice.
  5. Initiate self-directed learning and demonstrate accountability in didactic and clinical components of residency program.

Goal #2: The resident will demonstrate clinical expertise in the physical therapy management of patients with movement-related dysfunction secondary to neurologic conditions.

Objectives: The resident will:

  1. Effectively self-assess knowledge and skills in neurological clinical practice at the beginning, throughout and at completion of the residency program.
  2. Develop skills and abilities in the practice expectations described in the current Description of Specialty Practice of Neurologic Physical Therapy by
    1. Engaging in a minimum of 1,500 independent clinical patient care hours
    2. Participating in a minimum of 150 hours of collaborative, mentored patient care with an American Physical Therapy Board certified neurologic specialist
    3. Participate in a minimum of 260 hours of didactic coursework 
  3. Effectively and efficiently perform neurological patient examination including selection and administration of tests and measures, evaluation, physical therapy diagnosis, prognosis, and development of the plan of care.
  4. Choose appropriate interventions which maximize function, independence and quality of life in patients with neurological dysfunction.
  5. Appropriately educate patients, families, caregivers, other health care professionals.
  6. Provide high quality physical therapy services which enhance the function, health, or wellness of individuals with neurologic dysfunction.
  7. Apply evidence-based principles in everyday clinical practice. 
  8. Demonstrate critical thinking and sound ability to justify choices in clinical decision making.
  9. Demonstrate ability to effectively monitor and adapt plan of care based on ongoing reassessment of patient, including discharge planning.

Goal #3: The resident will be a consumer of scientific literature and demonstrate ability to contribute to the neurologic physical therapy body of evidence.    

Objectives: The resident will:

  1. Effectively appraise physical therapy related research linked to neurological clinical practice.
  2. Facilitate regular evidence-based discussions with peers in a journal club or similar format.
  3. Develop and present monthly patient case reviews to colleagues in a grand rounds or similar format.
  4. Conduct clinical research or develop case report related to neurologic physical therapy practice.

Goal #4: The resident will develop as an educator, consultant and mentor in the field of neurologic physical therapy.

Objectives: The resident will:

  1. Teach/instruct entry-level physical therapy students in the area of neurologic practice.
  2. Teach/instruct physical therapy colleagues on timely and clinically relevant neurological topics using evidence-based framework. 
  3. Actively participate in the health promotion and development of wellness plans for patients with neurologic and other health related problems.

Goal #5: The resident will exhibit leadership in the field of physical therapy.

Objectives: The resident will:

  1. Develop and implement leadership development plan which focuses on individual professional leadership goals.
  2. Participate in professional organizations, mentorship to others, and collaboration on research projects focused in the area of neurologic physical therapy practice.
  3. Promote and contribute to the development of new practice environments for neurologic physical therapists when applicable.

Residents will have access to NSU resources including:

  • Interactive Blackboard academic delivery platform
  • Innovative teaching technology
  • University and Health Professions online and on campus library services

Residents will be completing clinical experiences at PRH/DMC where they will have access to current technology and equipment such as:

  • Body weight supported treadmill training
  • Bioness electrical stimulation walking system
  • Balance Master posturography equipment and software
  • Saeboflex upper extremity training system
  • Wheelchair pressure mapping system
  • Wheelchair seating and positioning clinic
  • Medilinks electronic documentation system.

PRH/DMC is a level I trauma medical center which provides the continuum of care for people with neurological dysfunction from neurological ICU to inpatient rehab to outpatient care to community support programs.  Residents will have the opportunity to experience both mentored and independent patient care in a team approach in all of these areas of the continuum.

PRH/DMC holds the following designations:

  • Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
  • Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center through the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) 
  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Designated Brain and Spinal Cord Program through the state of Florida’s Department of Health

Visit PRH/DMC’s website at:

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