There is a Beginning and There is an End

Yesterday it hit me. I have 13 days of didactic work left in physical therapy school. 13 days. On August 7th, I will start my 1st clinical internship and begin the last chapter in physical therapy school. Looking back on my experiences in school, there have been some really great times, some really bad times, a lot of tears and hard work, social events and activities, volunteering, and built relationships with faculty, patients, PTs, other PT students and students from other disciplines. If I were to recap everything in PT school, this post would be CRAZY long; however, I do want to recap a few things from each semester.

Semester 1 (summer 2015): This semester was a blur. I LOVED anatomy but hated physiology. This semester made me realize I was capable of learning a TON of information in a short amount of time. I also learned that you cannot be too self-conscious considering you take your shirt off in front of everyone on day 2 of school and have to palpate.

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Semester 2 (fall 2015): This semester was my 1st glimpse into true physical therapy classes and the beginning of my love story with neurological rehabilitation (even though I didn’t know it yet). I also experienced my 1st clinical rotation (1/2 day rotations 1x/week).

Semester 3 (spring 2016): One word. ORTHO. This semester was rough! Once again, a lot of information in a short amount of time. This is the semester that I realized that I was not as interested in ortho as I thought I was going to be (came into school with my mind-set on doing sports PT). This scared me a little bit because I was going through school with NO idea what I wanted to do. It was a very overwhelming and emotional semester. This semester I completed an 8-week Monday only rotation in the pediatrics setting. I respect Peds PTs SO much after that! I was exhausted every Monday (in bed by 830pm).

Semester 4 (summer 2016): This semester was tough, but was a good little breather from ortho semester. This semester included our 1st therapeutic exercise course and our 1st manual therapy course which was SO much fun. At the end of our short semester, I completed a 6-week rotation in an outpatient orthopedic setting. This rotation has been the most impactful so far. I learned how to complete an evaluation, document, write a plan of care and goals, and implement exercises I had learned in class with my patients.

Semester 5 (fall 2016): The hardest semester in PT school. All of the classes seem very randomly put together. Manual 2, peds, geriatric, cardio, electrophysiology, neuroscience 2, and prosthetics and orthotics. Though it was, in my opinion, the hardest semester of PT school, I finally began to realize that neurological rehabilitation was something I was very interested in. Over Christmas break, I decided to observe with one of my neuro professors in the clinic to be able to apply what I learned in class to real life scenarios. This semester I was also elected Student Government Association (SGA) secretary.

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Semester 6 (spring 2017): Pharmacology. That was a HARD class. But I learned SO much. Wound care. GROSS, but again interesting and I learned a lot. I learned that wound care graces us with its presence in every setting, so I better suck it up!! This is semester I made the BEST choice of my life – to take Smart Success PT with Greg Todd. It has taught me how to leverage and market myself, that goal writing is imperative for success, the payor system in PT (which is CONFUSING), how to use social media as a marketing platform, how to rock an eval, and SO much more!!! I also attended Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) and met my mentor Greg Todd, Matt Villegas, and many other SSPT students.

CSM

Semester 7 (summer 2017): Easiest semester yet!!! With that being said I have had a hard time figuring out what to do with my free time! Honestly, it is weird having so much extra time. In our curriculum, the 3rd year PT students TA in anatomy during this semester for 2 of the 4 tests. Tomorrow, I will be heading back into lab to TA for test 4 material, head and neck. This is the semester I was able to be a guest on Matt Villegas’ Capable Body podcast and discuss living with MS (link below).

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It seems like yesterday that I was starting my 1st semester in PT school. It is crazy how time flies. To look back and see where I was to what I am now is insane – how much I have learned, the skills I have developed, the people I have met, and the personal development that has occurred is so astonishing. I cannot wait to see what this last chapter has in store for me!

Capable Body podcast link:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-capable-body-podcast/id1254308538?mt=2&i=1000389851232

Google: https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iajgb5qxc7jd63cqner44wlseam

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My Trip to Tampa to visit THE Greg Todd!

Today I am going to talk to you about my trip to Tampa. I went to Tampa to meet with one of my mentors, Greg Todd to check out his clinic and learn a little bit from him and his staff. The first thing that I noticed when I walked into the clinic was that it was very high energy, everyone was so welcoming, and you could tell everyone loved being in that environment, patients and PTs. I just knew that every person working there loved coming into work every day. It was great to see patients coming in and out for treatment. Greg is really big on wellness programs and we actually had a patient stop us in the hallway while I was there. She thanked him for having a wellness program and somewhere she can go other than the gym “because she hates the gym”. It was great to see 1st hand how he treats his patients and how he is helping people reach their goals.

 

The biggest thing I took away from the clinic is that it is all about patient education!! It is so important to educate the patient on what exactly is going on inside their body, what structures are affected, and healing time for each structure. Letting the patient know that you know your stuff starts the relationship off right and starts to build that trust between therapist and patient. I got to experience Greg and another PT at his clinic educate their patients on their diagnosis and what structures were affected. By the time the patient left the clinic, the patient knew exactly what was wrong with them, the approximate healing time needed to help them, and what their plan of care would entail. As the patients left, you could tell that they were very confident that they were going to be taken care of at this clinic.Complete-Anatomy

We also discussed professional development and how to improve my marketing skills even while I am still a student. For me, social media is really overwhelming and stressful. We discussed how important it is that I learn BlueJay now, even though I am still a student, to familiarize myself with their site and work on patient education with complete anatomy. I could even start using it for wellness programs! We discussed how important it is for me to be dedicating my time and making it a priority to really develop my skills, work on marketing myself and getting my name out there to be able to create consistency. In the future, a patient may google me and I want videos, blog posts, and testimonials to pop-up for them to listen to/read to really get to know me and see the real me and my consistency.

This trip really gave me the confidence boost I needed. I almost didn’t feel like I was capable of handling everything in regards to social media. Greg did a great job of doing a live video of our conversation in a private group I am in to help break the ice and get me a little more comfortable with the camera. It also helped me re-focus on my goals and look long-term where I want to be un my personal life and in my career. Even though I had a hell of a time getting to Tampa, I learned so much the day I got to spend at Renewal Rehab! It was well worth the time and money spent….. plus I ate a TON of amazingly fresh seafood ( since I don’t get that often being in north Louisiana) and I got to hang out at the beautiful beach (and got sunburned)!

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Thank you Greg Todd and Renewal Rehab for letting me come visit! I had a blast!!

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Tampa Baby!

So I want to tell y’all a little bit about how my day has been and why I am in Florida. It started off by getting up at 6am to get ready to head to the airport. My flight was supposed to leave at 9:15a. I get to the airport, get through security and head to the gate. I sit down and wait. We board the flight (which was not full – thank the Lord) taxi out and get in the air about 9:30ish. Take off. Everything is fine. We get away from the airport about 10 min. and I feel the plane significantly slow down and start to descend. Internally I kind of start freaking out. “This is your Captain speaking. We are having trouble with the autopilot. It is not working. We feel like the safest thing to do is to return to DFW and have a mechanic look at it.” The plane turns around and we fly 10 min back to DFW. We land about 9:55, get to the gate, sit there for 15 min and the Captain comes back over the loud speaker, “I am really sorry about the inconvenience. Maintenance is at another job and said they will head over as soon as they are done.” By this point everyone is getting annoyed and realizing they will be missing their connecting flights in Tampa. I was slightly perturbed because I don’t like being in a confined space next to strangers for a long period of time (but who really does?!). About 30-45 min. later, maintenance has decided it’s not a quick fix, so everyone gathers their belongings, they unload our luggage from below the plane and tell us we will be boarding another plane in the same terminal, but 25 gates away. So, we walk down to the new gate and are given complementary snacks and drinks, but have to wait another 30 min. for our plane to be brought over from the hanger. We loaded up and made an uneventful take-off and landing into Tampa. I grabbed my luggage and got my rental car. I typed my hotel address into my phone, but I had no signal. NONE. I had to drive 2 min outside the airport to get signal to figure out where I was going! I finally made it to my destination. The hotel is descent and right on the beach. Who could complain!?

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Tomorrow, I head to Wesley Chapel, FL to take a look at my mentor’s clinic, see his processes, and see how he ROCKS an evaluation. I am so excited to learn from one of the best and to significantly grow my knowledge about physical therapy as a science and as a business. I will post more information on what I get out of this visit next Tuesday, May 9. Time to hit the beach!

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Mentor or nah?

After listening to my mentor, Greg Todd’s podcast on “Should I Get a Mentor” it dawned on me, he should not be my only mentor. In his podcast, Greg talks about how not everyone knows what to do and may not have the guidance they need. You learn things through people and that’s where a mentor comes into the picture. I will talk about what a mentor is and 4 reasons why you should have/be a mentor.

What is a mentor?

Per Webster’s dictionary, a mentor is “a trusted counselor or guide.” My definition of a mentor is something similar, however, I believe a mentor should not only guide you, but encourage you to dream big and set goals the goals required to help you achieve your dreams. In Greg’s podcast, he speaks about 3 reasons why you need a mentor. I am going to briefly cover those 3 things (plus 1 of my own) and explain why I think they are important.

 

Reasons Why…

First, you need a mentor for belief that your dreams are possible. A mentor’s job is to “remove the ceiling” and break down the walls of doubt and walls that keep you from achieving your dreams. If you stay inside your borders, inside your little box, you will never be able to meet your goals and accomplish your dreams. Secondly, a mentor is “your GPS”. If you are going to meet and exceed your expectations/accomplish your goals and dreams, you need guidance to do so. A mentor keeps you on the right road and helps you get to your destination. This brings me to another point. Your mentor should have a similar mindset as you. For example, if your goal/dream was to open your own clinic, you may not want a mentor who does not own his/her own clinic. Not that they are a bad leader or person, but they are not familiar with the road you have to travel to open your own clinic. Thirdly, as a PT, we should be a mentor to our patients. We should be an encourager and motivator, showing them their possibilities and allowing them to believe they can get better. I am sure anyone reading this has been very sick or injured. When you are down and feeling like crap, sometimes you lose site of the possibilities and feel like you’re never going to get better or return to your previous activity. Be that encourager and mentor to your patients. Help them see the future and that getting better is possible. Also, be a roadmap for them. Let them know what their plan of care will look like. Set your expectations for them as well as let them tell you what they expect from you. This leads me to number four. As a mentor, dedicate yourself to your mentee, and as a mentee, invest in your mentor. “As you invest in your mentor, the more they will invest in you.”

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Should you be a mentor?

YES. YES. YES. Whether you are in PT school, have been practicing 1 year, or practicing 30 years, it is your responsibility to be a mentor to your patients. Even if you are a PT student, or not even in PT school yet, be a mentor to those who share similar thoughts, goals and dreams. Anyone can be a mentor.

Check Greg out his podcast “The Hunt for Greatness” Thank you Greg Todd for being and encourager and helping me exceed my goals and dreams!

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My First Blog

Hey Everyone!

I want to thank you again for visiting my website. This is my first of many blogs, so GET EXCITED for many more to come!! As you all may know, I am a second year PT student at LSUHSC – Shreveport. I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend CSM (Combined Sections Meeting) 2017 in San Antonio, Tx. I gained so much knowledge, but of course, that knowledge comes with a price.

Let me tell you a story. My friends and I were planning on leaving Wednesday morning at 8am, since it is a 6.5-7 hour drive from Shreveport. This, of course, did not happen because I woke up at 2:30am with a stomach virus. It wasn’t just vomiting, if you know what I mean. So about 6:30am, I got ahold of some Pepto and was taking that every 30 min. My friends and I decided that we would leave at 10am instead of 8am to see if I could get past the frequent bathroom trips. After taking 1 more dose of Pepto and 2 Imodium, we finally left Shreveport at 10:15am. Let me tell you, a 7 hour drive with an upset stomach is ROUGH, but luckily we only had to stop every 1.5-2hrs. By the time we got to San Antonio, I was running on 4 hours of sleep, no coffee, and was severely dehydrated. We checked-in to the hotel, picked up our registration packets, and went to PT Pub night, where we spent a whole 45 min. I headed to bed Wednesday night and was up Thursday morning ready to rock -and-roll at CSM. (For anyone who doesn’t know what CSM is, it is a national conference that brings PTs, PTAs, PT students, and PTA students together to learn about the current research and treatment options in all fields of PT.) I attended 8 session over the 3 days, walking about 5 miles each day to, from, and throughout the convention center. There were so many great talks and I learned SO much. Three of my favorite talks were about Pusher’s Syndrome in Patients Post-Stroke, Disorders of Consciousness, and Learning From Each Other: Sports and Neurology Section Discuss Motor Learning. While I was at CSM, I met my Smart Success PT family and my mentor Greg Todd. We all had dinner together Thursday night and got to know each other. On Saturday, CSM came to a close and we made the 7 hour drive back to Shreveport, this time it was significantly less eventful. Since I am not currently in clinic, I have not been able to apply what I learned at CSM, however, we have begun to discuss some of the topics in several of my classes. I returned to Shreveport with a rash, dehydrated, and sleep deprived, but totally worth it!