University of Nebraska Medical Center


Ortho PT with patient

Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Curriculum

Residents participate in:

  • ~30 hours/week of clinical practice at Nebraska Medicine Lauritzen Outpatient Center
    • includes ~4 hours/week of mentoring with a clinical specialist
  • ~20 hours/week of didactic training, teaching in UNMC’s DPT program, observation with orthopedics physicians and other activities related to our curriculum requirements
  • Given the scope of residency learning opportunities, residents should expect to spend 50-60 hours per week preparing for and completing program activities.

Curricular enhancement

UNMC is committed to developing and maintaining excellent educational programs. The curriculum and other aspects of this program are routinely assessed and changed as necessary to ensure the highest quality training.


The schedule below provides an idea of a typical week; however, the exact schedule of non-clinic time will vary to align with mentor and class schedules.

A.M. Patient Care Other Activities Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care
P.M. Patient Care  Didactic Time Mentored Time Didactic Time Patient Care

The didactic component of the program uses the APTA Academy of Orthopedics' Residency Curriculum package of Independent Study Courses (ISCs). Residency faculty members supplement these ISCs with current evidence and laboratory practice sessions. Residents are able to apply what they have learned in the clinic each week, and while teaching in UNMC’s entry-level DPT program.

Curriculum Outline

Foundations Module
  • Orientation to UNMC and Nebraska Medicine
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Pain science
  • Screening for orthopedics
  • Principles of pharmacotherapeutics
  • Basic statistics for understanding the physical therapy literature
  • Outcomes in Ortho PT Practice
  • Principles of Strength and Exercise Prescription
  • Clinical Imaging
Body Region Modules
  • Lumbopelvic
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Foot/Ankle
  • Cervical Spine
  • Thoracic Spine
  • TMJ
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Wrist/Hand
Additional activities throughout the Resident year
  • ~30 hours of patient care per week
    • Currently at Nebraska Medicine’s Lauritzen Outpatient Center
    • Includes weekly 1:1 mentoring (~3 hours/week)
  • Journal Clubs
  • Grand Rounds
  • Scholarly Activity Project
  • Written Exams
    • Mid-term
    • Final
  • Live Patient Exams
    • Spine
    • Lower Extremity
    • Upper Extremity
  • Psychomotor Skills Competency Assessment
  • Experiential Learning Opportunities (ELOs)
    • At least 30 hours with physicians
    • At least 10 hours with other rehab providers
  • Community Service Hours
    • e.g. serving as faculty advisor for pro-bono SHARING clinic
  • Teaching in the UNMC’s Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
    • Serving as a lab assistant in various courses related to Orthopedics
      • ~4 hours/week on average
    • Developing at least 1 lecture
  • APTA Level 1 Credential Clinical Instructor Program (CCIP)
    • Usually offered locally in January
    • Residents will then have the opportunity to serve as clinical instructors for UNMC DPT student Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE) during the Spring semester.