Failing Does Not Mean Failure. What You Do Next Decides That.

dear pt students Nov 27, 2020
Dear PT Students,
 
The distribution of grades from our first anatomy exam was written on the board when we entered lecture. There was an overwhelming majority of A’s and only one person failed.
 
I sat there feeling bad for that one person. It was one thing when you failed a physics exam in undergrad that over half the class also failed, it was another thing to be the lowest grade by a substantial margin. And then we got the tests back...
 
I was the one. I failed my first exam of PT school. It was devastating, embarrassing, and made me question if I had what it took.
 
My confidence was shattered immediately and it was VERY disorienting. My success had always been linked to my identity and in the matter of one test I didn’t feel good enough.
I went to see the professor (as instructed on the top of the exam). She told me one thing that I still remind myself of often.
 
“Failing does not mean failure. What you do next...
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You are not alone feeling this way

dear pt students Nov 20, 2020
Dear PT Students,
 
“What non-musculosketal cause might you worry about if this was your patient?” the evaluator asked me.
 
Sitting in front of me was my practical patient that was complaining of neck pain. You know what questions feel like during a practical. You’re on edge and may not even feel 100% sure if the evaluator was asking your own name.
 
All that stood between me and being done with the practical was this single question. I was almost done. My brain was in panic mode though and my mind was blank. Here’s my thought process: Okay, neck pain red flags. Neck = Cervical spine. Red flags = almost always some sort of cancer.
 
“Cervical cancer.”
 
My patient laughed. The evaluator looked down trying to hide a smile. And I stood there completely oblivious.
 
As you finish your semester, your practicals, and your final exams remember that you know the answer. You’ve prepared, you’ve...
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You Don't Need To Be Perfect - Just Keep Getting Better

dear pt students Oct 09, 2020

Dear PT Students,

As a new grad, I was struggling with a patient and voiced my frustrations to a co-worker. She listened to me and then asked me the following three questions:

1. Are you using all the resources you have to help this patient?
2. Are you trying your absolute best?
3. Will you keep trying?

My answer to all three questions was “yes”, but this did nothing to calm the frustrations. And then she looked at me and gave me the one piece of advice that I still carry today:

“You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep getting better.”

Perfection is unrealistic. While we all want to be perfect, chasing perfection is bound to leave us feeling like we aren’t good enough, as it did for me with my patient.

Chasing improvement is where growth replaces the fear of failure. So, whether a difficult course, a tough patient case, or an experience that scares you, focus on getting better. And ask yourself:

Am I using all my resources, am I trying my...

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Stop Comparing Yourself

dear pt students Sep 25, 2020

Dear PT Students,
 
I sat in the car until the last possible second. I tried to talk myself up, I tried to think positively, and on this particular day I tried not to cry.
 
There were more days like this during my acute care rotation than I’d like to admit. I didn’t like the hospital, I was intimidated by the lines and tubes, and there wasn’t a single minute that I felt at ease walking through the CCU for the entire 12 weeks of my clinical.
 
The worst part though… many of my classmates were having great experiences. They loved going into their clinical and I was sitting in my car trying to get myself to walk into the building.
 
I started questioning if I was cut out for physical therapy. I kept worrying that I had made a mistake. And I wished for confidence that never came.
 
What kind of PT was I going to be if I hated my rotation while others raved about theirs?
 
As it turned out, I am an outpatient/sports PT...
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Being a PT student is a superpower

dear pt students Sep 11, 2020

Dear PT Students,

You know how when you’re a kid all you want is to be an adult? And then you get to be an adult and you’re like why did I wish away my childhood?

I think being a PT student is the same thing. But, being a STUDENT is a superpower that I hope you don’t wish away.

Trust me, I don’t want to go back to test, practicals, or working for free… but here are the reason why being a student is actually great:

1. PTs genuinely want to help you- Just like how adults want to help children, experienced PTs want to help students.

2. You’re not expected to have the answers- Yes you are challenged to know the answers, but this is a time to mess up and learn from mistakes.

3. You have time to experiment- You don’t need to know what you want to do for your career and if you don’t know, you are more likely to try new things.

4. Your classmates are awesome- After school, you have to work really hard to seek out others trying to learn like you...

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Which PT setting should I work in?

dear pt students Sep 04, 2020

Dear PT Students,
 
What setting should you go into?
 
Some of you go into school knowing exactly what you want to do with your degree, but many of you will have no idea and some of you will change your mind.
 
The pressure to decide, commit and go after a particular area is real. No one wants to feel behind. Yet when one classmate spends hours reading about sports physical therapy and another constantly retweets about neuro PT, the pressure mounts.
 
Whenever you feel behind, think of this quote from the book Range by David Epstein.
 
“If we treated careers more like dating, nobody would settle down so quickly.”
 
If you read the book, it praises generalizability and range or breadth over specialization. Yet, we think that specialization is what helps us get ahead. It isn’t.
 
Specialization was right for Tiger Woods who is an outlier. It doesn’t work for everyone else and it sure isn’t the way we...
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