Four hours a week isn’t much – less than the average American’s daily dose of television, according to the folks at Nielsen. But top therapists at University of Colorado Hospital’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department are using those 240 minutes to benefit patients, students, colleagues, and also themselves.
The department encourages its physical, occupational and speech therapists to obtain professional specialty certifications. But it’s gone a step further, creating an internal clinical ladder
, now in its third year, for therapists interested in coaching and mentoring their peers and developing projects to improve patient care.
“Our rationale was to move the department forward in clinical practice and to give staff an opportunity to excel in clinical skills,” said Timothy Wimbish, MS, director of Rehabilitation Services at UCH. The effort has paid off. The department boasts a growing number of specialists certified through their professional organizations. For example, Wimbish said, there are only 30 or so physical therapists (PTs) with a specialty in neurology in Colorado. Nine work at UCH. They help to rehabilitate patients recovering from stroke or dealing with challenging movement disorders, such as multiple sclerosis
and Parkinson’s disease. All told, 21 PTs have received professional specialist certifications in either neurology, orthopedics or geriatrics.