Skip to Content

  • Homepage
  • Directory
  • Physical Therapy Faculty
  • Nelson, Heidi

Heidi Nelson

Director of Clinical Education; Instructor of Physical Therapy*

Physical Therapy Department


Started at Briar Cliff:



  • B.S., Psychology, South Dakota State University
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of South Dakota
  • APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor, March 2013


Heidi Nelson, PT, DPT is currently the Director of Clinical Education and Professor of Physical Therapy for a developing Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, IA. Significant previous employment has included completing a Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency and Post Doctoral Fellowship in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for 1 year, a physical therapist and Team Leader for Aegis Therapies for 1 year, and a pediatric physical therapist, with a focus on aquatic therapy, at New Berlin Therapies, S.C. in Elkhorn, Wisconsin for 1 year.

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. She has recently become an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Credentialed Clinical Instructor in March 2013.

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. Dr. Nelson is also a member of the APTA as well as the South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa chapters. Dr. Nelson is additionally a member of the Pediatrics and Education sections of the APTA.

In addition, Dr. Nelson has enjoyed coaching soccer teams of various ages, supporting the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and 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.

*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.