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Susan is the director of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Ms. Nelson earned a Bachelors of Science Degree in physical therapy from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1975 and a Masters of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Minnesota in 1993.

Ms. Nelson has been involved in physical therapist assistant education since 1987 when she joined the College of St. Catherine PTA program as the primary first year instructor. In 1999, Ms. Nelson was appointed program director.


Ms. Nelson holds teaching responsibilities in PTA 1010 “Patient Handling Techniques”, PTA 1020 “Physical Therapy Interventions I”. She also co-teaches PTA 1160 "Physical Therapy Intervention Techniques II". She has regularly taught in the core courses for associate degree students, most recently CIL 1500 "Transcultural Learning Through Community Connections".

Ms. Nelson’s clinical background has been varied including settings in acute and subacute care, orthopedic outpatient and skilled nursing facilities. Most recently it has been in the care of the patients in an acute and transitional care setting with orthopedic and neurological pathologies. She practices every other weekend at University Medical Center Fairview - Riverside Campus.

Ms. Nelson is a member of the APTA and has been involved through support of the PTA’s Special Interest Group. She serves as an on-site accreditation team leader and reader / consultant for the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education and has served as a member of the steering committee that has developed the APTA Educational Leadership Institute.  She has been instrumental in forging the strong partnership the program and University have with Roosevelt High School and currently serves on the Professional Advisory Board of Roosevelt’s Medical Careers Program.  Her scholarly work is in the area of community engagement.

Ms. Nelson was named the PTA Educator of the Year in 2011, a national APTA award sponsored by the F.A. Davis Publishing Company.  Other awards she has received include the Anne Joachim Moore Lectureship and the Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents' Civic Engagement Service Award.

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