Reminder: You will pass the NPTE

dear pt students Jul 23, 2021

Dear PT Students (or should I say new PTs),

Those four letters have been thrown around for the last three years of your life.

“You’ll need to know this for the NPTE”
“This will definitely be on the NPTE”
“Make sure you review this for the NPTE”

For a while the NPTE was so far in the future that it didn’t seem real. Something you would think about, but quickly forget. But for many of you, right now the NPTE is all you can think about.

I’ve heard from a lot of students about the stress, uncertainty and worry that they’ve been feeling as the test quickly approaches. Many who have been studying and preparing daily for weeks and months.

I’ve heard things like ‘I’m not a good test taker’ and other narratives that are all different shades of being afraid of failing. And that fear is understandable. That fear is real, but….

Here’s what I know and what you should know

1. No matter how ‘bad of a test...

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“Do you think students will be prepared after a year of their education being affected by COVID?”

dear pt students Apr 16, 2021

Dear PT Students,

 

“Do you think students will be prepared after a year of their education being affected by COVID?”

 

You are over a year into navigating your education since COVID.  

 

I don’t know how you’ve done it.  I’m impressed.  The adjustments you’ve had to make, the constant changing and the lack of certainty only adds to an already difficult program.

 

I hope you know how awesome you are and I hope you know that while I’m sure it wasn’t enjoyable, it has already made you a better physical therapist.

 

Being a PT is ALL about being able to pivot and change course when needed.  It is about constantly wondering and assessing whether you are on the right track.  It is about taking it one session at a time and knowing that you may have to adjust daily.

 

So yes, I think PT students will be better prepared for their careers than ever before.  I think the fact that...

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The Power of Networking as a Student

 By Ro Rodriguez SPT

I vividly remember the first class in PT school that focused on the topic of clinical placements. The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) started by saying “don’t reach out to clinics yourself in an attempt to get placed there, because you may forfeit the rotation.” I did not put much thought into this because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, and more importantly, I was extremely focused on understanding the concept of the “concave-convex rule.” 

 

What I did know is that I wanted to build relationships with professionals that shared similar interests and worked in fields that motivated me. Innocently, I sent an Instagram message to a PT working with a professional sports organization that I am truly passionate about. I was simply trying to ask for resources to learn more about a population I aspired to work with. The PT replied and not only provided me with the educational information, but also...

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When Will I Know What I'm Doing

Dear PT Students,

Have you ever seen an amazing public speaker and just thought about how incredibly talented they were?

As I started the process of becoming better at public speaking, I was always in awe of the people that just had such a natural ability for it.  They moved intentionally, spoke smoothly and had a presence that could not be ignored.

The admiration mixed with intimidation I had for public speakers was the same admiration and intimidation I felt as a student and as a new grad when I was with awesome clinicians.

But the farther I got into public speaking, the more it became apparent that it wasn’t all talent.  In fact so much of what each engaging speaker did was something that could be learned.  How to move on stage, how to manipulate tone, and timing were all things that could be taught and practiced.  It wasn’t talent, it was training.

The same is true for the clinicians you admire.  They studied, they practiced, and they got...

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Small Steps Over Huge Leaps

dear pt students Mar 26, 2021

Dear PT Students,

 

I was guilty of this (and still am).  I think many students and graduates think like this.

 

We look at where we want to go and how far we are from where we want to be.

 

We see these HUGE gaps.  We feel like we may never get there.  But most of all, we ignore how effective small, consistent steps move us forward the most. It is the little things we do on a daily basis that add up quickly way more than the big accomplishments that only come by once in a while.

 

I remember hearing that if you are struggling in any area of life it can usually be traced back to consistency.


For school we need consistency with reading, studying, and practicing.  In relationships we need consistency with communication, engagement, and demonstrating we care.  With physical goals, we need consistency with healthy eating, activity, and sleep. 

 

So, what small step can you take today and tomorrow?

 

Break Barriers,


Jenna and...

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It Doesn't Matter If You Are a Clear Favorite or a Cinderella Story. Anything Can Happen.

Dear PT Students,

 

It took me 26 minutes to fill out my March Madness bracket  (Illinois is going to win in case you were wondering).  

 

It is always hard to predict.  Anything can happen in March and you can look at what a team did during the season, but that doesn’t always translate to success in the tournament.  Over the next few weeks we will see upsets, surprising outcomes, and some expected ones.

 

Number one seeds can fall in the first round and eight seeds in the final four.  I think this is the perfect analogy for PT school.  Once you graduate, once you prove you know enough everyone has a shot at success.  Some will see it immediately, some will see it down the road, but don’t think how well you did in PT school predicts it at all.

 

4.0 students may struggle (and that’s okay) and 3.0s may thrive immediately.  Once you graduate, don’t worry about what it took to get there. ...

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Time Heals All Doubts

career dear pt students Mar 12, 2021

Dear PT Students,

 

“I don’t know the sport that well” 

“I don’t know any of the players and they don’t know me”

“I’m a foot shorter than all of them”

“Will I know what to do?”

“What if I can’t help them get better?”

“What if I’m not as good as their last PT?”

 

These are all thoughts in my first few days as the team PT for a collegiate volleyball team.  I didn’t feel like I was good enough and I worried if I would ever be.

 

I remember feeling all those things, but the feelings themselves seem like they are from another life.  I may not catch every double hit, but I know the sport now.  I know the players and they know me.  I love being their PT and getting to work with them.  I’m still shorter, but it never mattered.

 

All these thoughts were insecurities that faded with experience and time.  When you go out...

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Run Toward Something, Not Away From Something

Dear PT Students,

 

Run toward something, not away from something.

 

PT school can get old.  You’re not making money, you can’t take vacations like your friends, and the work does not end.  It is only natural to WANT it to end.

 

I don’t know any PT student that wanted to stay a student forever.  Many are counting down the practicals, the exams, and the days until they finally sign DPT after their name.

 

But, focusing on PT school ending makes you miss some really great opportunities while you are there.  Rather than trying to get away from PT school, start looking toward life as a PT.  Don’t try to run away from PT school, think of it as moving toward PT status.

I know it is only a slight difference.  Yet, looking forward to starting life as a PT is more likely to get you to volunteer at the school clinic to get more reps, can result in studying MSK for your future patient and not just for a grade, or may...

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If You Cannot get Buy In Then Knowledge and Skill Is Lost

Dear PT Students,

No one told me that it could be more effective to have multiple personalities when working with patients than it would be to have multiple treatment options. 

I do not mean that in a dysfunctional way, but rather in terms of relatability and communication.

When you finish PT school you want to know everything, take tons of continuing education, and have a million skills when it comes to treatment.  But all of that takes time, experience, and constant refinement.

There are an endless number of ways to get patients moving better and feeling better.  Yet if you cannot get buy in, then much of that knowledge and skill is lost.

Patient education is more than how you talk to patients and more than avoiding medical jargon.  It requires you to be the person your patient needs you to be.  Some patients will need to joke around, some will want to talk the entire session, some will need encouragement, some will need to be reigned in, some will want...

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You May Not Know the Possibilities to Your Future PT Self

dear pt students Feb 12, 2021

Dear PT Students,

 

You may not know what is possible for your future.  

 

We had residency interviews this past week and I was asked a question that really made me think.  “Did what you wanted for your career change from before residency vs. post residency?”

 

The question resonated with me because residency changed me quite a bit.  However, this isn’t a post about doing a residency.  This is a post about recognizing that your ideas and your dreams about your career may be unfinished.

 

I wanted to be a professor directly after residency because I knew I wanted to teach.  But it never occurred to me that I could teach continuing education and I never knew that could be even more appealing.

 

Think of your future career with the possibility that you haven’t been exposed to what you’re truly passionate about lately.  If you don’t know anyone in pro sports, you might not think it is...

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