Neonatal physical therapy is a subspecialty within pediatric physical therapy. The ability to practice competently and safely with the neonatal patient population requires knowledge and experience beyond an entry level clinician. Neonatal physical therapy practice requires advanced training in the competencies associated with providing family-centered, evidenced-based care for this complex, high acuity population. Advanced training cannot be completed through self-study and must be guided by skilled mentors with advanced practice expertise to prevent physiological and behavior destabilization and risk to fragile infants.
Following recognition of neonatal physical therapy as a sub-specialty practice area, three fellowship training programs were developed. These programs use a variety of training models and methods to support clinician development within the seven roles of neonatal PT described in the NICU Practice Guidelines. The fellowship models and methods are separate from and different from those related to neonatal physical therapy practice in residency programs and support differing outcome achievement for graduates. The purpose of this session is to describe the models and methods used in the current fellowship programs, compare and contrast to residency programs, discuss fellowship outcomes, and explore fellow graduate profiles and insights while highlighting how to pursue neonatal physical therapy fellowship training.