Neurologic Physical Therapy Training Program

The Mercer University-Shepherd Center Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency program combines contemporary, evidence-based coursework with highly individualized advanced clinical mentoring under the supervision of experienced clinicians.

In alignment with the American Physical Therapy Association’s Vision 2020, which advocates for specialized physical therapy services, our program aims to elevate the expertise of physical therapists in the field of neurologic care, with a focus on spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and more. 

Additional training goals of the residency include: 

  • Accelerated expertise of the Client Management Model within evaluation, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients with neurologic dysfunction. 
  • Increased quality and consistency of care for patients with neurologic diagnoses. 
  • Continued professional growth and development through the consumption and analysis of scientific literature, immediate application of science, and theory for improved learning. 
  • Preparation and eligibility for the neurological specialist certification exam. 

Comprehensive Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Curriculum 

Our Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency program offers a well-rounded curriculum designed to equip the resident with advanced clinical skills and expertise. The resident will engage in diverse learning opportunities throughout the program, combining hands-on clinical practice, mentorship, teaching, and self-directed study. The resident will split time between the following areas.

The resident will immerse themselves in the clinical setting, dedicating 1,500 hours to patient care across various programs and the continuum of care. Additionally, the resident will have the chance to participate in specialty observations and clinical practice hours at Shepherd Center’s outpatient clinics, including: 

During clinical practice, 150 hours will be devoted to one-on-one mentoring with experienced clinicians. This personalized guidance offers the resident individualized feedback, mentorship, and a deeper understanding of neurologic care. 

The resident will participate in at least 30 hours of teaching with opportunities to serve as a guest lecturer and lab assistant in Mercer University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program, presentations at local or state conferences, and teaching classes for interdisciplinary staff at Shepherd Center.

The resident will spend 150 hours on didactic or laboratory coursework for advanced education. Didactics may be composed of various formats, including online webinars and courses, hands-on training, lectures, and labs. Below is a sample of training opportunities and topics available to the resident. 

  • Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium Webinars  
  • Medbridge NCS Prep Program 
  • Foundations of Advanced Clinical Practice 
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Patient Assessment Instrument (IRF-PAI) Credentialing 
  • Behavior De-Escalation Training 
  • Addressing Sexuality and Intimacy after Brain or Spinal Cord Injury  
  • Locomotor Training 
  • Clinical Instructor Credentialing 
  • Diagnosis-Specific Lectures and Labs 
  • Serial Casting 
  • Manual Therapy 
  • Disorders of Consciousness 
  • Course offerings for Mercer Orthopedic Residency

The resident is encouraged to explore self-directed learning opportunities, completing a case report, case series, research project, or other self-directed learning on a patient they treated. The resident will spend 90 hours on self-directed learning throughout the program. This dedicated time allows the resident to delve deeper into specific aspects of neurologic physical therapy, broadening their knowledge and expertise.

Service learning is integral to our residency program, providing the resident with valuable experiences beyond clinical practice. Service learning opportunities include assisting with Shepherd Center’s advanced wheelchair skills clinics, adventure skills workshops, adaptive sports, fall prevention workshops, Georgia RSVP clinic, and the Brain Injury Association of Georgia’s annual camp. Additionally, the Atlanta community is rich with opportunities to serve organizations, including Catalyst Adaptive Sports and the Parkinson’s Foundation, based on the resident’s interests.  

The Shepherd Center and Mercer University Partnership 

Through our partnership with Mercer University, we aim to improve the professional development and clinical practice of our patients through the development of advanced practice clinicians. With strong collaboration between local universities and healthcare facilities, the residency program provides evidence-based educational opportunities while fostering a supportive environment for mentorship and leadership growth. As a center of excellence for neurologic practice, research, and education, we aim to attract and retain skilled professionals while elevating the standard of physical practice. 


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