Passing the Test

After months of preparation and hours of testing, Assistant Teaching Professors, Bradley Willis and Anita Campbell, in the Department of Physical Therapy have much to celebrate regarding their specialty exam results.

Willis took and passed the Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS) Examination through the American Physical Therapy Association. Geriatrics is one of the nine specialty areas within physical therapy. This exam is offered once a year and consists of 200 multiple choice questions divided into four sections of 50 questions, with an hour and a half to complete each section. Willis found the exam to be very humbling and used the entire six hours provided. His typical preparation involved reading geriatric content textbooks, reviewing relevant course materials, and completing an online prep program for two hours on weekdays and up to three hours per day on weekends. Passing the exam has excited Willis to translate what he has learned regarding current evidence and practice standards into the classroom and clinic, therefore elevating care and outcomes for geriatric populations.

Campbell took and passed the Neurological Clinical Specialist Exam (NCS), indicating that she is Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurological Physical Therapy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. To Campbell, passing the exam demonstrates the high standards to which the Department of Physical Therapy aims to maintain within their program, specialized knowledge, and advanced clinical proficiency within neurological physical therapist practice. Her preparation for the exam included review of the latest literature and gold-standards for the field of neurologic physical therapy and submitting evidence of required clinical practice in the specialty area. Campbell indicates that as of June 2016, there were just under 2,000 NCS PTs across the country, and only 24 within Missouri.

“Although the preparation and exam were challenging, I want to encourage other physical therapists to take this career step,” says Willis. “I have learned so much through this process and am thankful to have the opportunity to apply what I have learned in the clinic and classroom.  Not every part of the process was comfortable, but I believe it is worth the time and efforts.”