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CE On-Demand

Two Paths to the Same Destination: PT in the Emergency Department

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Date Published

June 8, 2020


Minnesota APTA


Acute Care, Emergency Department, Emergency Medicine, Physical Therapy


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Physical therapy practice in the emergency department (ED) is challenging, exciting, unique, and incredibly rewarding, but how do you get there? Practicing competently in the emergency department is one thing, but building a program is another. John is an experienced physical therapist that built the emergency department program. Peter trained with John as a student and as a new graduate PT, who joined the program early and gained experience through mentorship and independent practice in the ED. The intent of this course is to share our experiences from two perspectives in program development and give some data concerning the first year of full-time practice. We have learned a few surprising things.

  1. New graduates are well prepared to work in the emergency department within one-two years of experience.
  2. Mentoring students helped improve the program development experience.
  3. Practicing in the emergency department is not as intimidating as it may sound, but does require advanced skills in communication, dealing with severe anxiety and pain, spinal manual therapy, vestibular dysfunction/rehabilitation, and differential diagnosis.
We hope to inspire students, new graduates, and experienced therapists who are interested in the pursuit of emergency department physical therapy practice.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the skills that will need to be honed for working in the emergency department.
  2. Identify the challenges of a typical day in the emergency department.
  3. Identify the personality/characteristics of an individual that would thrive in the emergency department, as it is not for everyone.
  4. Identify strategies for gaining emergency department experience and either joining an existing practice or starting a practice of your own.

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John Seip, PT, DPT

John Seip is a physical therapist working full time in an emergency department as part of an acute care team in alevel one... Read More

Peter Drinkwine, PT, DPT

Peter Drinkwine is a physical therapist working in a level one trauma acute care hospital full-time in Duluth, MN. He splits... Read More

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Program Titles and Supporting Materials

This program contains the following components:

Video Presentation
Slide Deck Copy
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If applicable, you may obtain credit in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously for this program (see pending/approved list below). If electing credit for this program, registrants in jurisdictions not listed below will receive a Certificate of Completion that may or may not meet credit requirements in other jurisdictions. Where applicable, credit will be only awarded to a paid registrant completing all the requirements of the program as determined by the selected accreditation authority.

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How to Attend

Join the self-paced program from your office, home, or hotel room using a computer and high speed internet connection. You may start and stop the program at your convenience, continue where you left off, and review supporting materials as often as you like. Please note: Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser. We recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari for best results.

Technical Requirements
You may access this course on a computer or mobile device with high speed internet (iPhones require iOS 10 or higher). Recommended browsers are Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

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