Physical Therapy Neonatology Fellowship Program

  • About the program

    The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP) Physical Therapy (PT) Neonatology Program is a full-time, 12-month program, offering post-professional clinical and didactic education for physical therapists who demonstrate clinical expertise in pediatric physical therapy.

    The fellowship curriculum is focused on providing advanced clinical and educational instruction for the evaluation and treatment of newborns and babies who require intensive medical care. The program combines a planned experience of didactic instruction, and extensive mentoring in our state-of-the-art Level IV Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) in order to develop master clinicians in neonatal and infant physical therapy.

  • Our philosophy

    The CHOP PT Neonatology Fellowship for newborns and infants requiring intensive care is based on the principles of developmental and family-centered care. Developmental care is a method of care delivery where all infant care (medical, nursing, ancillary) is prioritized and provided in a way that supports the baby’s neurobehavioral development. Critical thinking — as well as collaboration among the healthcare team and the family — is integral to the successful provision of developmental care.

    In family-centered healthcare the importance of the family as the constant in the baby’s life is recognized by collaborating with the family in the decision-making of all aspects of health services including treatment choices, aggressive treatment, pain management and follow up.

    The healthcare team prioritizes working collaboratively to support and empower families to fulfill parenting roles. In addition, healthcare team members proactively encourage and assist families to assume parenting roles while their babies are critically ill, as well as across the continuum of care.

    Mission

    The CHOP PT Neonatology Fellowship for newborns and infants requiring intensive care is dedicated to supporting the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Vision 2020 and the CHOP mission of advancing healthcare for children. This fellowship will provide the academic and clinical education necessary to graduate practitioners of choice.

    Graduated fellows, informed by a broad understanding of the needs and vulnerabilities of critically ill infants and their families, will be equipped to advocate for and establish efficient, cost effective and evidenced-based PT programs for infants requiring intensive care and their families.

    Graduated fellows will lead, teach and mentor others in the practice of family-centered developmental care as well as partner with other healthcare providers in the developmental follow up of infants. Graduated fellows will be consumers of, as well as contributors to, the literature and will exemplify professional behavior, critical thinking, self reflection, empathy, and lifelong learning and self development.

  • Program goals
    1. To support CHOP’s mission of advancing healthcare for children with a focus on the needs of critically ill infants and newborns and their families.
    2. To support the American Physical Therapy Association’s Vision 2020 by developing graduate fellows who will be recognized as the practitioners of choice to establish and implement evidence-based physical therapy programs in neonatal intensive care units locally, regionally and nationally, and who will demonstrate the eight core professional values of the APTA: accountability, altruism, compassion, caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility.
    3. To develop physical therapists who are national leaders and experts in the practice and advancement of family-centered developmental physical therapy care with newborns and infants who require intensive care and their families.
    4. To develop physical therapists with expertise in teaching and disseminating the most up-to-date family-centered developmental physical therapy care for newborns and infants who require intensive care and their families.
    5. To provide each fellow with a strong foundation and understanding of:
      • The medical issues and interventions of preterm and full term infants requiring intensive care
      • Fetal, preterm and full-term infant sensory, motor and state development
      • The intensive care environment and culture, and its impact on babies and families
    6. To prepare each fellow with the administrative skills and fiscal understanding of hospital systems, and newborn/infant intensive care, necessary to establish efficient and cost effective programming for newborns and infants requiring intensive care across the continuum of care.
    7. To prepare each fellow to partner with other healthcare providers in the follow up of infants at risk for developmental delay by developing expertise in clinical and standardized assessment of motor development.
    8. To prepare each fellow to critically appraise and apply evidence relevant to the practice of physical therapy in the population of infants at high risk for developmental delays and their families.
    9. To equip each fellow to participate in clinically relevant research that will benefit newborns and infants requiring intensive care and their families
    10. To produce autonomous practitioners who are critical thinkers, skillful negotiators, strong patient and family advocates, reflective, empathic, and committed to lifelong learning and self development.
  • Overall program outcome

    CHOP PT Neonatology Fellowship graduates will be equipped to advocate for, propose and establish family-centered developmental physical therapy programs for newborn/infant intensive care units and will successfully establish themselves as essential members of the healthcare team caring for critically ill infants and their families across the continuum of care.

    Graduates will:

    1. Be recognized as the physical therapy practitioner of choice for newborns and infants requiring intensive care.
    2. Provide evidence-based, family-centered, developmental physical therapy for newborns and infants requiring intensive care
    3. Lead, teach, and advance family-centered, developmental physical therapy care for newborns and infants requiring intensive care and their families.
    4. Demonstrate the administrative skills and fiscal understanding of hospital systems, and newborn/infant intensive care, necessary to establish efficient and cost effective programming for newborns and infants requiring intensive care across the continuum of care.
    5. Partner with other healthcare providers in the developmental follow-up of infants.
    6. Be consumers of, as well as contributors to, the literature.
    7. Be skillful negotiators, strong advocates, reflective, empathic, and committed to lifelong learning and self development.
  • Program highlights

    In addition to the required didactic and mentoring sessions, the CHOP Neonatology Fellowship will provide physical therapy clinicians with many unique learning opportunities available in the CHOP N/IICU. These opportunities include:

    • Weekly participation in teaching rounds with Neonatology staff
    • Weekly participation in developmental rounds with CHOP N/IICU interdisciplinary team
    • Weekly participation in N/IICU surgical and medical case discussions
    • Attendance at Neonatology case conferences
    • Participation with N/IICU Family Service Council
  • Application details and resources

    Applicants must:

    • Be an American Board of Physical Therapy Certified Specialist (ABPTCS) in Pediatrics, Neurology or Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Specialty areas, OR a graduate of a APTA credentialed Pediatric PT Residency Program, OR eligible to sit for the ABPTS examination in Pediatrics
    • Have a minimum of 3-5 years working in pediatrics
    • Be licensed or eligible for licensure in PA
    • Be an APTA Member
    • DPT preferred

    Neonatology Fellowship start date is July 2015.

    Application resources

  • How to apply

    Interested applicants meeting the above requirements should submit the following information electronically by Dec. 31, 2014:

    • Fellowship application
    • For external applicants: CHOP Employment application (including criminal background check and child abuse clearance)
    • Copy of PA license
    • Copy of APTA membership card
    • Curriculum vitae with detailed description of clinical experiences
    • Letter of intent outlining:
      • Your experiences with the population of NICU babies and/or graduates
      • What you wish to gain through participation in this fellowship
      • Your goals and expectations for the fellowship
      • Your future plans in the area of physical therapy with infants and babies requiring intensive care
    • Three professional references

    Applications should be sent to:

    Physical Therapy N/IICU Fellowship
    Kim Nixon-Cave, PT, PhD, PCS
    Physical Therapy Manager
    215-590-7471
    Email

    Applications are reviewed by the fellowship committee and will be evaluated on the strength of the following criteria:

    • Clinical experience in physical therapy with a pediatric-related population
    • Evidence of superior communication, teamwork and leadership ability
    • Evidence of advanced clinical decision-making skills
    • Evidence of ability to interact with individuals of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds

    Outstanding candidates will be selected for an interview and evaluation with members of the selection committee.

    Tobacco-free hiring policy

    To help preserve and improve the health of our patients, their families and our employees, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a tobacco-free hiring policy. This policy applies to all candidates for employment (other than those with regularly scheduled hours in New Jersey) for all positions, including those covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    Job applicants who apply after July 1, 2014 will be expected to sign an attestation stating they’ve been free of nicotine or tobacco products in any form for the prior thirty (30) days. They will also undergo a cotinine test as a part of the Occupational Health pre-placement drug screen administered after the offer of employment has been accepted but before the first day of hire.

    Exemptions: Attending physicians (excluding CHOP physicians in the Care Network), psychologists, principal investigators and/or Penn-based faculty are exempt from this process to better align with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

    Reviewed by: Diane Versaw-Barnes, PT, DPT, PCS
    Date: October 2013

Reviewed by Diane Versaw-Barnes, DPT, PT, PCS on October 31, 2013