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Duke Acute and Critical Care Occupational Therapy Fellowship

Mission and Philosophy

The mission and philosophy of our Acute and Critical Care Occupational Therapy Fellowship in the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy is to develop and graduate practitioners, who by virtue of their critical thinking ability, clinical skills, diagnostic competence and ethical standards are committed to promoting the optimum health and function of their clients, and who will serve the larger society and profession through teaching, administration and research.


To provide a post professional, specialty defined (physical rehabilitation) educational experience to occupational therapists to equip them with the following abilities:

  1. Utilize current evidence- based occupational therapy information to make accurate occupational therapy plan of care in the acute and critical care setting.
  2. Apply advanced occupational therapy interventions during an episode of care for a variety of conditions treated in the acute and critical care setting.
  3. Demonstrate the communication/collaboration skills with the members of the multidisciplinary team and the patient, needed to care for a person with disorders of body structure or function, activity limitations or participation restriction.
  4. Provide health and wellness or injury prevention programs and/or educational presentations for persons in the community as it relates to movement, development, activities of daily living and other related occupational therapy topics.
  5. Participate in the development of new or innovative occupational therapy techniques and the collection of evidence to support the effectiveness of those techniques to enhance the practice of occupational therapy in the acute and critical care environment.

Fellowship Schedule

52-week physical rehabilitation fellowship in acute care, with a focus on ICU & the continuum of care:

  • General Orientation- 2 weeks
  • Cardiology Routine and Step Down and Cardiac Intensive Care Module- 6 weeks.
  • Cardiothoracic Step Down and Intensive Care Module- 6 weeks.
  • Trauma/General Surgery Routine and Step Down and Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Module- 12 weeks
  • Neurology/Neurosurgery Routine and Step Down and Intensive Care Module- 12 weeks
  • Medical Intensive Care Unit- 12 weeks
  • Residency Exchange with UNC Burn Residency- 1 week
  • 2 weeks leave

Breakdown of teaching hours during the 48 education weeks:

  • Approximately: 14 hours education, 26 hours treating per week
  • Clinical Practice: 40 hours per week during orientation and holidays, 26 hours per week during
  • educational weeks = approx. 1410 hours
  • Course work: Didactic learning and Lab = 3 hours a week x 46 weeks
  • (lectures and labs) = approx. 138 hours
  • Mentoring = 4.5 hours a week x 46 weeks (one on one with faculty) = minimum 150 (target 207 hours)
  • Clinical Investigations = 2 hours a week x 46 weeks (functional measures, tracking of patient scores, research, journal clubs, peer reviews, grand rounds, case reviews) = approx. 115 hours
  • Specialty Practice Observation = 4 hours/week (MD clinics/surgery) = approx. 184 hours
  • Total hours for program: 1997 scheduled


One year program from August 1st through July 31st.


The majority of on-site residency activities occur Monday through Friday between the hours of 7AM and 6 PM. Your work schedule will be flexible and allow for patient care, training, mentoring, study time and preparation. Schedules are coordinated by the fellowship program director and shall not exceed expectation of more than 50 hours /week of direct program participation. There will be additional personal study time required.

Weekend Coverage

Occupational Therapy fellows will be scheduled to work weekends on a rotating basis, approximately one weekend/4 weeks. This time will tracked as patient care hours.

Professional Liability Insurance

As an employee of the DUMC, a fellow is covered by the organization’s professional liability policy. This coverage extends only to those activities that are required by their participation in the program. All fellows are encouraged to carry their own personal professional liability coverage.

Continuing Education

The department provides a $300-$1000 continuing education benefit. Other than those resources, there are no additional monies allocated for outside continuing education, tuition reimbursement, travel or parking fees to any observations/ outside facilities, living expenses, licensure fees, or professional dues. Supplemental work opportunities, covering inpatient weekends are available with additional pay for any fellows.

Requirements for admission

The therapist must have graduated from an accredited occupational therapy program and must be licensed or eligible for licensure, in the state of North Carolina. Only occupational therapists licensed in the state of North Carolina will be hired.

How to apply:

Application Requirements:

  • 3 letters of reference
    • One from Clinical Instructor
    • One from Professor or Previous Mentor
    • One from Previous Employer
  • CV and Cover Letter
  • Essay on Motivation for Residency Application
  • Complete written application –2023 – 2024 OT Acute and ICU Fellowship App

In-person interview: (Finalists only- you will be notified in late February after applications are processed and reviewed)

  • Fellowship Director and Therapy Manager Interview
  • Peer Interview
  • Situational Questions
  • Case Study
  • Tour of Duke University Hospital
  • Observe a Treatment Session in the ICU

Clinical Faculty

Coordinator of the Acute and Critical Care Occupational Therapy Fellowship:

Melissa Kandel, OTR/L (melissa.kandel@duke.edu)

Faculty Members:

  • Lindsay Krueger, OTR/L
  • Amy Matzer, OTR/L
  • Deana Daneau, OTR/L
  • Jessica Brown, OTR/L, CLT
  • Lauren Hew, OTR/L

Email completed application with all associated documentation in a single Zip folder to Mike Schmidt at michael.schmidt@duke.edu.

Mike Schmidt, PT, DPT, MHA
Director of Duke’s Residency and Fellowship Programming
Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
(919) 668-1323


For August 1, 2023-July 31, 2024 Fellowship