Dr. Heidi Nelson - Doctor of Physical Therapy Program | Briar Cliff University
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Heidi Nelson, PT, DPT, PCS

Heidi Nelson

Director of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy program

Department: Department of Physical Therapy
Phone: 712-279-5478
Email: Heidi.Nelson@briarcliff.edu
Office Location: Mayfair 106


  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Physical Therapy, University of South Dakota
  • Bachelor’s of Science (BS), Psychology, South Dakota State University
  • Board Certified Pediatric Physical Therapy Specialist (PCS)
  • 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
Heidi Nelson


Heidi Nelson, PT, DPT, PCS was hired by Briar Cliff University as the Director of Clinical Education for the developing Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in 2014. In addition to being the DCE, she will served as the Course Director for Normal Lifespan Development, Pediatric Rehabilitation, Advanced Pediatric Rehabilitation elective, and teach the clinical instructor portion of Rehabilitation Teaching and Learning. She will also assist in the Integrated Clinical Experience sequence and mentor a scholarly project group.

Dr. Nelson came to Briar Cliff after working in clinical physical therapy in the fields of pediatrics, geriatrics, and clinic management. Following graduation with her DPT from the University of South Dakota, Dr. Nelson completed an APTA Pediatric Residency and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) at the Munroe-Meyer Institute through the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Her residency and fellowship focused on services for children birth to three, school systems, outpatient therapy, the neonatal intensive care unit, acute care, and gait analysis. During this residency, she also was a teaching assistant and lab assistant for the Pediatrics course in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She also completed teaching and lectures for other universities and the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program at the place of her residency. Dr. Nelson continues to practice pediatric physical therapy, approximately 8 hours per week, at a local private clinic to maintain a contemporary practice in the pediatric setting, where she has opportunities to supervise students or have student observers for educational teaching opportunities. She is scheduled to sit for the Pediatric Certified Specialist Examination in the spring of 2015.

Following her residency, Dr. Nelson practiced physical therapy in a Skilled Nursing Facility, where she served as the Team Leader for Aegies Therapies and initiated a new contract requiring her services to work as a clinic administrator. This opportunity allowed her to organize and assist in the preparation of continuing education courses. Dr. Nelson also worked as the single physical therapist at a rural outreach clinic, as a pediatric physical therapist, where she served as a clinical instructor for Marquette University and Carroll University. She has also served as a clinical instructor for full time physical therapy students in the area of pediatrics, and several part-time students in the areas of pediatric and geriatric physical therapy.

Dr. Nelson has an effective working knowledge of clinical education practice, as evident by her attendance at the APTA Advanced Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program training. Since starting at Briar Cliff, she has also attended the ELC and CE Summit, CAPTE’s Self-Study Workshop and Developing Program Workshop, and the Iowa Clinical Education Summit. Sufficient annual funding will be available annually for Dr. Nelson to continue to attend ELC/CE Summits, Iowa Clinical Education Summits, as well as participate other courses and conventions to continue to understand and progress knowledge of contemporary physical therapist practice, quality clinical education, the clinical community, health delivery system. and her area of specialty of practice . In addition, Dr. Nelson also remains contemporary with physical therapist best practice and rules and regulations through being a member of the APTA, Nebraska Chapter, South Dakota Chapter, Education Section, and Pediatrics Section, as well as serving as the Vice Chair of the Northwest District of the Iowa Chapter.

 Dr. Nelson's curriculum vitae →



Unpublished Research:

L Svien, LA Amick, MM Beckstrom, HM Strobush. The effects on motor development in a child exposed to methamphetamine in utero: a case study.

Strobush HM, Stuberg W, Kurz M. Effects of body weight support treadmill training and strength training on participation in children with cerebral palsy.