Debora Caires Nelson, MS, PT

Position with NIPT:
Aquatic Physical Therapist

NIPT Clinic Location:
Kroc Center 

Debora (Deb) is a local girl and has lived in Coeur d’Alene for the past 45 years.  She is a graduate of Coeur d’Alene High School where she met her future husband.   Deb started working for NIPT in 1993 as an undergraduate work-study student while attending Gonzaga University for (the late) Lee Shellman, PT, and returned back to her hometown in 1998 after achieving her Master of Physical Therapy from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, to work once again for NIPT.  She had the privilege to be mentored as a new PT by Lee until Justin Kane, PT bought the clinic, serving as the Clinical Manager of the Coeur d’Alene office until 2007.  She then transitioned to the Northwest Specialty Hospital providing acute care for weekend patients recovering from surgery until 2012.  After having 2 children, Deb then worked as a staff physical therapist within a skilled nursing facility at Ivy Court for 5 years and then has served at Crest Home Health and Hospice for the past 6 years.  She is also a consultant physical therapist to the residents of Seven Oaks Developmental Disability Homes.

Deb is married to her wonderful husband, Mike, who has worked for the past 26 years for the Coeur d’Alene School District and is mom to two very busy teenagers, Maricela and Knowlton, who both participate in track and field events.  Mari is a 4-time National Jr. Olympic qualifier for the 100m/200m sprints and Knowlton started training in throwing events for both discus and hammer throws as a Regional Jr. Olympic qualifier. Their family loves traveling and has been on a family journey for nearly a decade to visit all 50 states and their capitals. So far, they are at 45 and counting! Deb is honored to be able to be able to come back to NIPT where she started her physical therapy career to serve the patients at the Kroc Center location now providing care with aquatic therapy services.

Personal Interests: 

  • Baking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Traveling
  • Watching my kiddos participate in Track and Field events since we are huge track and field fans
  • Volunteering for school functions


  • University of the Pacific 1996-1998 Master of Science in Physical Therapy (Magna Cum Laude)
  • Gonzaga University 1991-1995 Bachelors of Education in Physical Education/Biology (Magna Cum Laude)
  • Coeur d’Alene High School 1987-1991 (Magna Cum Laude)


  • Physical Education Student of the Year – Gonzaga University 1994-1995
  • UOP PT Class President 1996-1998


  • Member of the Aquatics section of the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association)
  • Past Affiliation with APTA; Former IPTA North District President 2000-2002
  • Past Member and President of NIC PTA Advisory Board 2017-2023

Areas of Focus:

  • Geriatrics
  • Women’s Health
  • Aquatics