Physical Therapy Neonatology Fellowship Program
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP) Physical Therapy (PT) Neonatology Program is a full-time twelve-month experience of 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 a state-of-the-art Level III Neonatal and Infant Intensive Care Unit in order to develop master clinicians in neonatal and infant physical therapy.
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 health care team and the family is integral to the successful provision of developmental care.
In family-centered health care 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.
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 health care 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- To prepare each fellow to partner with other health care providers in the follow up of infants at risk for developmental delay by developing expertise in clinical and standardized assessment of motor development.
- 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.
- To equip each fellow to participate in clinically relevant research that will benefit newborns and infants requiring intensive care and their families
- 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.
- Be recognized as the physical therapy practitioner of choice for newborns and infants requiring intensive care.
- Provide evidence-based, family-centered, developmental physical therapy for newborns and infants requiring intensive care
- Lead, teach, and advance family-centered, developmental physical therapy care for newborns and infants requiring intensive care and their families.
- 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
- Be consumers of as well as contributors to the literature.
- Be skillful negotiators, strong advocates, reflective, empathic, and committed to lifelong learning and self development.
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 NICU. These opportunities include:
- Weekly participation in teaching rounds with Neonatology staff
- Weekly participation in developmental rounds with CHOP NICU interdisciplinary team
- Weekly participation in NICU surgical, medical case discussions
- Attendance at Neonatology case conferences
- Participation with NICU Family Service Council
Application details and resources
- 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 1, 2013
Download the fellowship application
NICU fellowship brochure
NICU fellowship reference form
NICU Fellowship Program information
Applicants should submit the following electronically by December 31, 2012:
- 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 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.