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  • Nelson, Heidi

Heidi Nelson

Director of Clinical Education; Admissions Chair; Instructor, Planned Doctor of Physical Therapy* Program

Department: Physical Therapy Department
Phone: 712-279-5478
Office Location: Heelan Hall 256


  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Physical Therapy, University of South Dakota
  • Bachelor’s of Science (BS), Psychology, South Dakota State University 
  • APTA Advanced Credentialed Clinical Instructor
  • APTA Pediatric Residency/Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center


Dr. Nelson was hired by Briar Cliff University as the Director of Clinical Education for the developing Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in 2014. Dr. Nelson came to Briar Cliff after working in clinical physical therapy in the fields of pediatrics, geriatrics, and clinic management. Dr. Nelson was chosen to complete a pediatric residency and postdoctoral fellowship through the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center with an emphasis of obtaining skills to sit for the Pediatric Certified Specialist exam including carrying a case load in birth to three, school systems, outpatient therapy, the neonatal intensive care unit, acute care, and in the gait analysis lab.

Scholarly, Dr. Nelson has participated in multiple research projects focusing on pediatric physical therapy including the effects of methamphetamine in utero and the effects of body weight supported treadmill training on children with cerebral palsy. In addition, Dr. Nelson has enjoyed supporting the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, supporting Spinal Muscular Atrophy research, and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and expanding her knowledge base and skills by providing skilled physical therapy services for the lifespan through a variety of employment.

Current Professional Memberships

American Physical Therapy Association

  • Pediatric Section Member
  • Education Section Member

Iowa Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association

  • Vice Chair of the Northwest District of the IPTA

South Dakota Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (Corresponding Member)

Nebraska Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (Corresponding Member)

*Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. Briar Cliff University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program will submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.