Accelerated Rehab & Accelerated DPT

accelerated rehabI distinctly remember when the paper by Shelbourne & Nitz describing an accelerated rehabilitation program after ACL reconstruction was published (yep, I am that old).  Though it would be some time before the RCTs were published that confirmed this observation, the paper nonetheless began a paradigm shift in the postoperative management of patients following reconstructive surgery.  At the time there was a large and vocal group of surgeons and therapists that thought this was neither appropriate nor safe in this patient population.   However, as data emerged and knowledge transmitted we no longer see patients in full leg casts for 6 weeks after an ACL reconstruction.

I am extremely fortunate to currently be involved in accelerating the attainment of the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the predominant 3-year model to a 2-year model. This model is designed to leverage the best of educational technology with the best of immersion learning.  I am now confident that the methods in use for decades (actually over a century) to learn foreign languages (i.e. through immersion) is a viable, sustainable, and perhaps more effective method to becoming a physical therapist.   Looking, acting, sounding, and practicing, as a caring professional physical therapist is likely the implicit goal of all programs.  It is my opinion, that when faculty and clinicians engage with students both in the online environment and during intensive 8-10 hour days over a 2-week period that a culture of purpose and connectedness forms.  Though we wait on outcomes it is appropriate for all stakeholders to continue in the dialogue of the future of DPT education.  It is particularly important to hear from practice owners and current students.  If you will be attending CSM next week in San Antonio we would love to hear your perspectives.  Please join us Friday, February 17th from 11-1.

I look forward to the conversation!


One response to “Accelerated Rehab & Accelerated DPT

  1. Larry Benz says:

    Tim, this micro trend is exploding in all areas of education and training. The reason? Fluff in the system. Med schools going to 3 years, law schools to 2, accelerated nursing programs to 18 months! At the same time, we are seeing what I believe are misguided trends trying to take under graduate and liberal arts away and move to “work readiness” with public education advocates wanting to eliminate many undergrad degree programs that aren’t a “job”. I think it is important to finely differentiate between accelerated graduate school once a fundamental and broad base of undergraduate education is in place (even if that undergrad is moved to 3 years!). Let’s also remember that the trend to 3 years had ZERO to do with the profession and everything to do with higher education wanting more tuition revenues. To a large extent, conversion to a 2 year DPT is a sign of taking our profession back in the hands of those who are in it! Great post.

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