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Casting Apprenticeship Program

Westside ‘s Casting Apprenticeship Program (CAP) is a 2-year development program for physical therapists that want to train in serial casting. They will commit a part of their week to training with the goal that they will work part-time out of the Serial Casting Institute (SCI)* when they are done.

*The Serial Casting institute is set to open its doors Fall 2022

What does the Casting Apprenticeship Program offer?

The Casting Apprenticeship Program offers passionate physical therapists a chance to pursue and develop in-depth skills in serial casting, and be a pioneer in launching the Serial Casting Institute (SCI) early on and supporting it long-term.

The program puts physical therapists in a position to support the growing need for serial casting services in the Chicagoland area.

The program will also have tiers of apprenticeship that help those in the program access casting experiences that are appropriate for their skill level.

photo of a therapist at Westside in Illinois working with a kid through serial casting treatment

Casting Apprenticeship Program Phases 

The Casting Apprenticeship Program will span (2) years and will vary in what is focused on and the time committed.

Year 1
When:  August 1, 2021 to August 1, 2022
Commitment:  Minimum of 2 days per week (Monday – Friday)
Location:  Westside Children’s Therapy Frankfort Clinic Casting Room

Focus of Training – Year 1

    • Anatomy of the foot
      • Various deformities of the hindfoot, midfoot and forefoot 
    • Kinematics of the lower extremity
    • Kinematics of gait
    • Understanding skeletal alignment
      • Plumb line
    • Developmental progression of gait
    • Various ranges for different ages
    • Knowing the steps of serial casting
      • Pictures/Gait Analysis
      • ROM
      • Stockinette
      • Cotton
      • Fiberglass
      • Wedging
    • Knowing and understanding the specific measurements of the foot
      • Knee Extended R1 and R2
      • Knee Flexed R1 and R2
      • Hindfoot ABD/ADD
      • Hindfoot Varus/Valgus
      • Forefoot Plantarflexion
      • Forefoot ABD/ADD
      • Forefoot Supination
    • Being able to set up for a serial casting session
    • Being able to take off casts 
    • Being able to don stockinette and cotton
    • Being able to don fiberglass on a very novice patient 
    • Being able to know when it is appropriate to send patients to be molded for AFO’s (orthotic use) 
    • Being able to take inventory of materials
    • Being able to clean area at the end of the day

      Goal Outcomes By End of Tier
    • Individual Can:
      • Apply stockinette, cotton and fiberglass on a simpler cases 
      • Set up for consecutive casting sessions
      • Correctly take pictures/videos
      • Correctly hold the shank during ROM and donning of cotton/fiberglass
      • Know the correct alignment of a child being casted in prone. 
        • Hip ABD/ADD
        • Shank (90 degrees) 
      • Understand how to correctly wedge a novice patient 
      • Understand the post-serial casting protocol and implement on a patient 
      • Be skilled enough to determine the exercises that a post casting patient should be performing.
      • Understand when a patient can come out of AFO’s (weaning patients out).

    Year 2

    When:  August 1, 2022 to August 1, 2023

    Commitment:  2 full days per week on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

    Location:  Serial Casting Institute (Opening Fall 2022)

    Focus of Training – Year 2

    • Being able to cast more challenging/complex patients
    • Being able to take on a serial casting schedule.

    Goal Outcomes By End of Tier

    Individual can: 

    • Don stockinette, cotton and fiberglass on a more challenging patient 
    • Understand how to correctly wedge a challenging patient (adaptafoam)
    • Have full understanding of the following:
      • Kinematics and kinetics of gait
      • Plumb line
      • Movement of the foot and ankle 
      • Appropriate ranges and end goals depending on ages. 
      • Deficits up the chain with toe walking.

          Commitment

          • Minimum of 2 days per week (Monday – Friday)

          Where

          • Serial Casting Institute (Opening Fall 2022)

           

          Who Should Apply to the Casting Apprenticeship Program?

          The prerequisite for the Casting Apprenticeship Program is that candidates are current physical therapists and have a passion and vested interest in serial casting.

          The Casting Apprenticeship Program is for individuals who can become the backbone of a successful serial casting institute that rivals our region’s top hospitals. Those accepted will be counted on to become an integral part of a founding team that strives to build something special.

          Accepted candidates will:

          • Commit a full day in year 1 and two days in year 2 of the program to hands-on and in-person casting training
          • Commit to working part time (2+ days per week) when the SCI opens in Fall 2022
          • Work the other 2+ days in standard physical therapy at a home Westside clinic
          • Willing to work 2+ years in the SCI upon completion of the Casting Apprenticeship Program

          How to Apply for CAP

          The Casting Apprenticeship Program (CAP) application can be completed and submitted at the following link.

          • Applications are due May 15
          • Candidate will be interviewed
          • Decisions will be made by June 15
          photo of a child with serial casting from Westside Children's therapy, photo used for the serial casting institute page

          FAQ’s

          If I apply for the Casting Apprenticeship PRogram, am accepted, and begin tracking my career towards serial casting, will I still be able to practice physical therapy?

          Yes, the ongoing commitment to the Casting Apprenticeship Program is to split your time roughly 50/50. Half of your week would be serial casting; half would be treating a variety of physical therapy cases. There is certainly a lean towards casting, but by no means would it pidgeonhole you into doing only casting.

          How will my progress be evaluated as I develop new serial casting skills?

          The CAP will include a limited number of people and will function in a small-group setting. Given that intimate nature, most feedback on casting skills is going to happen real-time from your casting trainers. Consistent with out biannual review cycles, there will be formal opportunities to sit down twice per year and discuss the overall trajectory of skill casting development.

          What happens if I change my mind about casting in the middle of the Casting Apprenticeship Program?

          This is a situation we are trying to avoid. We have limited training capacity and are trying to target an audacious goal of establishing a premiere casting institute. Thus, it is critical that the few we train this year will still be in the program next year in order for us to have a strong foundation to build on. If you have any hesitancy in applying, it may be best to not apply to the CAP this year so as to avoid this potential issue.