Monday, October 14, 2019

I Don’t Think That’s Going To Happen

“You’re school wants you to make the advanced intermediate mark on CPI within 8 weeks? Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen”. Those were some of the first words my CI spoke to me on my first day of one of my final clinical. I had simply spent the day in orientation, and she had not even seen me work with a patient yet.  Little did I know that that this comment was only the beginning. From that day on, I felt like I was climbing a never-ending uphill battle. I would show up prepared, connect with my patients and see improvements, yet my CI would spend each day scowling at my treatment plans, and belittling me every chance she had. At one point she even scolded me for my shoelace coming untied during gait training and stated “ THAT’S why I triple knot MY shoes. To make sure MY patients are safe.” 
While I feel like she did not necessarily do these things are of true malicious intent, I do not think she had the self-awareness to recognize just how abrasive and hostile she was being. Rather than taking the time to truly teach me and help me work on different areas, she instead felt it was her job to watch for me to do something that was even slightly different than how she would and attack me for it. It got so bad to the point that other students in our unit spoke with me about it and how they had considered speaking to their schools about how I was being treated by this CI. 
Looking back on the situation, I know that part of it was her general demeanor and her chosen way of communication. She had a very abrasive personality and oftentimes would be very strict and harsh with patients and coworkers. On top of that, it was a very unhealthy work environment overall. Therapists would talk poorly about each other when one was gone, and oftentimes you could hear whispering between CIs which caused the students in the unit to assume they were talking about us. It got to the point where I began to struggle with anxiety issues, those of which I had never experienced prior.
With so much pressure and being treated this way day in and day out, I definitely struggled. I felt like more of my day was trying to do everything how she would do it rather than actually learning and figuring out what was best for how I should treat my patients. And, of course, I was worried about passing especially since she had essentially told me since day one that I wouldn’t make the mark. Thankfully, I had a great school that keeps up with their students on clinical rotations. I made sure to document her comments and emailed in with specific examples of how I was being treated. Eventually, my school asked to do weekly phone calls which helped me to make sure my side of the story was heard. I would give my school examples of what was being said and how I would respond in different situations. This helped my anxiety a lot knowing that at least my school knew exactly what was going on and that they were willing to hear how I was responding. I also tried not to take how she was treating me personally. Easier said than done, but I found that going home each night and reflecting and writing down the different pieces of criticism and coming up with ways to incorporate changes into my following treatment sessions helped me separate the feedback from the attitude and discountenance that it was presented with.
When it comes to being in these types of uncomfortable situations, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with feelings of uncertainty, worthlessness, and fear. If you are a student going through this, or fearful of what future clinicals may bring, it is important to know you are not alone in that and that you have resources available to you. I felt so much support from my school and my friends and had to choose daily to be proactive rather than reactive to how I was being treated. It is easy to want to shut down because of the way you are being treated, but know you have the ability to make it through. Choose each day to be as prepared as you can for each patient, take criticism with grace and professionalism, and reach out when you need support. You have made it to this point and continuing through these moments of adversity with grace and choosing to find ways to learn from it can help it become a time of empowerment and growth rather than defeat. 
As for my story, I made it through. My school’s involvement was incredible, and they helped give me the support I needed. My final clinical following this one was a great reminder of how there are fantastic CIs also out there in the world. I was reminded of why I became a PT in the first place and was able to grow my confidence and diminish a lot of fears I had established during the prior clinical. Now I am officially graduated, passed boards and about to start my career as a travel PT on Monday! I even had the opportunity to be a teacher’s assistant for my program’s summer course after graduation and loved every moment of working with the students. I found myself pulling a lot of what I learned during this difficult clinical and treated the students I was teaching with respect, kindness, giving feedback in a way that empowered and challenged them rather than belittling them. I hope to one day have a larger role in education and plan to work towards that goal by first becoming a CI. 
If you need advice or just some encouragement, please feel to reach out. I am passionate about helping students feel empowered despite difficult situations and ready to tackle the next challenge ahead. You can reach me via Facebook at ( or via Instagram (@rachelroamingdpt).
All my best,

Dr. Rachel White, PT, DPT

I want to give a huge shout out to Dr. Rachel White for sharing her experience. She overcame a bad situation and has come out on top. She is now a full-on PT and following her dreams. If you need someone to talk with for support in a bad clinical rotation feel free to reach out to me or Dr. Rachel White. She has some great insights and would be an awesome person to help you make it through.

-Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT

Thursday, October 10, 2019

CI From Hell: You're Not Alone

Alright, I had no idea what kind of response I would get but it was crazy! I posted on Facebook a quick question including a little info about my experience with a terrible CI (clinical instructor). I thought at the time there must be something wrong with me. I thought I was the only one to have such a bad experience.

After 48 hours this was the response!

I know it doesn't look like much but when you take a closer look we have 335 comments. People who went through similar experiences. PT students who suffered through their internships with terrible CIs.

To me, this was eye-opening. A lot of the stories are very similar. The CI is very oppressive and belittling. Some are verbally abusive and use their students as slave labor.

Another common thread is the PT students are scared. They fear being failed. They fear being held back. They fear the thought of spending thousands extra because some CI somewhere who just met them is on a power trip and fails them.

If you are having a bad internship experience its important to know you are not alone. Many of us have suffered and come out on top. Know that one CI's subjective opinion of you does not determine your future or your worth.

If you would like help or advice feel free to reach out. I would love to help how I can, even if it is just to encourage you. You can reach out via Facebook ( or twitter (

Good luck!

Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Owner/Operator Empower Utah Physical Therapy

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Creating a PT Clinic: Is It Worth It?

My time has been pretty much dedicated to getting a clinic up and running so I have neglected this blog but wanted to report I am continuing to create a PT in myself. I am continuing to grow and push myself as a PT to make myself a better person.

Here is a vlog update on whether or not opening a clinic has been worth it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Experiences: By Cash PT Dr. Bobby Prengle, PT, DPT, CSCS

Huge thanks to Dr. Bobby Prengle! He has some great insights and advice. Read on to find out what he has to share. 

  • Who are you and why did you go into PT?

    My name is Bobby Prengle, PT, DPT, CSCS. I recently graduated from PT school at Duke University and did a year-long Orthopedic Residency at the Brooks Institute of Higher Learning in Jacksonville, FL. I currently work for Par4Success in Raleigh, NC. I went into PT because I was your typical "always hurt" athlete in high school. I played four sports and spent just as much time rehabbing various injuries at almost every joint in my body as I did playing those sports. My goal is to change the way we work with athletes of all ages so that they stay healthy and working towards their goals, not spending time getting back to their baseline function. Kids and adults are facing serious challenges to staying healthy and active these days, and it's our job as sports physical therapists to promote an active lifestyle. I also love both the challenge and the opportunity in the current PT/healthcare landscape!

  • What has been the biggest challenge going from school to the clinic?

    There have been tons of challenges. The first was clinically - I can vividly remember the first times I had to do PROM on a fresh post-op shoulder, and my first time for many special tests like Sharp-Purser. The training wheels really do come off! Residency gave me a perfect transition from being a student to becoming a higher-level thinker - the training wheels were off, so to say, but I had a team of experienced and high-level clinicians guiding me through that first year. The second, now in my transition into a cash-based practice, is trying to draw on limited experience to really provide top-notch care. Again, I have a wonderful team around me that provides further mentorship so that I can keep growing and learning. There's also a LOT of business/marketing/strategy that is not taught in PT school. There's a lot of trial by error in those departments!

  • What type of setting are you in and what is a typical day for you?

    We are a cash-based physical therapy and sports performance clinic with a focus on golf performance. We currently have 2 locations - a privately owned gym and a satellite clinic at a country club that I am heading up. There is no typical day right now when trying to grow a business! Some days, I see clients throughout the morning at either location, all one-on-one care, and am busy coaching our junior or adult performance classes in the evenings. There are lots of meetings and planning sessions. We run events such as pop-up clinics at Orange Theory Fitness locations, driving range events, and even started a podcast! I also sometimes have meetings with local golf pros to talk about clients that work with both of us. We are also busy with multiple research projects going on right now, and I have taken the role of Data Miner and Organizer for both of those projects! So, nothing typical, always an adventure, and I am constantly changing out which hat I wear.

  • What are your tips and tricks for expanding the golf/fitness end of the clinic?

    The biggest tip is to show someone your value to them as a golfer by finding out what matters most to that person. Some people hate that their back constantly hurts while they play - we can certainly help with that! Some people really don't care that they have to take 3-4 Advil during a round, they're just mad that they can't hit the ball as far as they used to. Again, there are tons of ways we as PT's can help you hit the ball further. If your hip only internally rotates 15 degrees (which is fairly common!), you won't swing very fast. If I can get you 30 or even 45 degrees, that completely changes things, and golfers can feel the difference on the range. That will probably make your back feel better too. So, it's really about having a big toolbox available to you so you can reach people where they are. Golfers are a competitive bunch - if you can show them just how much you can help, they'll certainly buy in. You also definitely need to know the difference between a 4 iron (ball goes further!) and a 9 iron (ball doesn't go as far), and recognizing a slice vs. a pull or hook is helpful as well. Watch a few tournament highlights and know who your clients' favorite golfers are! This is a super easy group to have a conversation with during a session.

  • What are your goals for the future and what will you do to achieve these goals?

    We have some pretty serious expansion goals in the future! Short-term, I would certainly love to expand the satellite clinic and build it up so much that we need to hire another PT. We're working on tons of different fronts to build it up - events, the podcast, pop-up clinics, and presentations for other local fitness communities. One of our main goals is to become leaders in the push towards reinventing healthcare, especially for physical therapy. Connecting with, supporting, and networking with other cash-based PT's is a great way to achieve this.

  • What is your advice for pre-PT, SPT, staff PTs, aspiring clinic owners, or current clinic owners?

    Especially for the SPT's and the pre-PT's - have a goal, but be flexible. I knew before even going to college that I wanted to work with athletes, but by being flexible and open to trying new things, I landed at Par4Success, which couldn't be a better fit. Don't be afraid to walk a slightly different path, but always be moving forward! Reach out to local business owners for shadowing opportunities, talk to your local alumni from your PT program about ways to get involved, and really go after unique experiences you can find. As a student, you're certainly not expected to have all the answers right away, but always be seeking to find them! Furthermore, this generation of therapists has a unique challenge when it comes to advocating for our profession. You can get involved with your local, state and national association, but you can also advocate by being a powerful voice in your local community. We offer so much to patients, and we can help so many people out there! It's important to get the word out about what we do so we can help as many people as possible.

Thanks Again to Dr. Bobby Prengle for his awesome words of wisdom. For more insights and advice from real-world PTs check out the Experience Series.

Friday, September 28, 2018

From Pre-PT -> SPT -> DPT -> Clinic Owner

Over the past decade, life has presented challenges. I just want to briefly go through some of the ups and downs throughout my journey.

First, I decided to get into PT school so I started doing my pre-requisites. I had some good grades and some okay grades. When I got a C in physics I was devastated! but I retook it and got an A!

Second, going through the process of PTCAS was exciting and scary. I was determined to get in and applied to 14 schools. I ended up being waitlisted at 3 schools and ultimately I was rejected! It was so painful.

Third, after feeling like a complete failure and being rejected I decided to try again. I filled out PTCAS again with the encouragement of my wife I applied again. This time I was much more refined in my selection of schools and only applied to 3 schools

Fourth, an email came I got in! I was accepted to PT school at the University of St. Augustine. I thought the hard part was over... getting into PT school but after PT school started I realized I the hard part was only getting started.

Fifth, getting through PT school was a total struggle! I felt like I crawled across the finish line. I graduate and much to my surprise I was awarded the Outstanding Physical Therapy Student Award at graduation.

Sixth, working as a PT was such fun but I soon felt like it was all about money. My boss would say "every time someone walks through that door imagine they have a 100 dollar bill taped on their forehead."  I loved working with people but I wanted more than just working for a boss that looks at patients as dollar bills. I want to help people!

Seventh, enough was enough and I decided to quit my corporate job and start a clinic! This has been a scary and fun process. I just opened about 8 weeks ago and I have seen a handful of patients. It is scary but I feel like with time I can get this clinic going.

All in all, this journey had been scary and fun. If you are a Pre-PT, an SPT, a DPT or a clinic owner I would love to connect and network with you. If you are reading this leave a comment so we can connect/network. I would love to hear your story.

If you feel like you have a story that would be beneficial to others I would love to put it up on this blog so reach out!


Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

High Road: Empower Utah Physical Therapy

As I have thought about why I wanted to start a clinic there are some many reasons but it boils down to just a few things. I'll expound:

1. Corporate PT wants you to bill as many high paying units as possible and they will mask it by saying "it's what is best for the patient"

2. PT's are highly educated and are capable of providing a plethora of help for people but corporate PT wants you just sign evals. Community health and wellness services could be revolutionized by movement/exercises experts corporate PT makes us too busy signing herding people in and out.

3. Autonomy to give the patient what is best. Corporate PT wants you to see people 2-3 times a week for several weeks but good PT in my book is empowering people to manage their conditions independently. So, in essence, I want to see people less often and facilitate independence.

So far opening a clinic has been fun (11 days in now). It is also scary! Very very scary because I look at my schedule and it is pretty empty but I feel if I am good to my patients they will be good to me (and send their friends to me, I hope)

In the end, at Empower Utah Physical Therapy I just want to give people what is very best for them.

Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Still Creating A PT: Opening A Clinic

I've been out of school for 2 years now! It has gone by so quickly. Some might say mission accomplished you're a PT now... but it just does not work that way for me.

As I was working at a corporate PT job I felt like I was growing complacent seeing patients 2 at a time. I felt like I could help people more. So what was I supposed to do?

Get another job... well not exactly. I got another job but that other job is a whole new adventure because my wife and I moved 1000 miles to open Empower Utah PT.

Yeah! We decided the best way to push ourselves was to open a clinic. So here I am sitting in a tiny one-room office having only seen 3 patients my first 3 days.

Is it scary you ask? Well of course! I'm scared to death this thing won't take off but on the other hand, it is exhilarating.

If you are thinking about opening a clinic hit me up I would love to talk strategy or marketing!

A little further info: I'm an LLC with no insurance contracts only taking cash/card payment. I am working solo (with some help from my wife from an admin standpoint).

Again if you are thinking about doing it text or email... I'd love to chat!

Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pre-PT Interview Stress: Part II

Critical feedback was painful in my first meeting with my interview coach. He counted each and every one of my um’s and ah’s, pauses, stutters, and bad answers. The was no sugar coating and ultimately, he told me I needed a lot of work. I took his advice to heart and practiced on my own time over the next couple of weeks. I interview myself in the bathroom mirror. When my follow up session I walked in and he was impressed with my appearance commenting that I even carried myself with more confidence. He as question after question with tough questions and I came right back at him. I had taken his tips to heart and refined my skills. I gave heartfelt answers about real life experiences. Not just your typical I had an injury and I did PT and it helped so now I want to be a PT. With personal experiences, I was able to win him over. After 30 minutes of tough to answer questions he announced to me that a grad school would be nuts not to take me. I walked out 2 inches taller that day. Shortly thereafter the invite came. I accepted the interview with excitement and let my interview coach know that I had received an interview. We met for one more short session just to fine tune and then off to Austin, Tx. With a fresh haircut, a pressed suit, and refined interview skills I was ready for the challenge. They called a group of 4 applicants into an interview and started asking questions. The interview went as smooth as butter. I felt confident I was doing well. After exiting the interview the other 3 applicants started asking me how I know what they were going to ask. I didn’t know what they were going to ask but came prepared. I just told them about my practice and preparations and all 3 of them praised me for knocking it out of the park. After going home, I knew I had done everything I could to get accepted. A couple of long weeks later anticipating the news I finally received a letter informing me I had been accepted into a DPT program.

If you are looking to prepare for an interview for a DPT or PTA program check out some of my previous post below.

If you are trying to get into PT school I would love to hear from you! Find me via:
Twitter: @DPT_USA
Facebook: Dalin Hansen 
If you are looking to take your interview skills to the next level contact me for a one on one interview with me for critiques and advice. Email me at

20 minute one on one interview session for $35 via Venmo

If you are not happy with the interview prep session just email me and I'll give you 100% refund.

Pre-PT Interview Stress: Part I

Applying to PT school = stress + research + essay writing + paperwork + pay money. Then repeat. It's expensive, it’s scary, it’s exhilarating. At the end of my under-grad I studied PTCAS constantly. I looked endlessly at programs, dates, requirements, matriculation rates. I calculated, hypothesized, theorized, wrote, studied, worried. The deadline arrived and I submitted loads of paperwork, essays, and application fees. And then I waited. Forever. And finally, I got invited to interview, all the way across the country at the University of New England. Unbelievable! Surely, an interview meant I would get accepted. Arriving in Portland, Maine with a crisp new haircut, and dry cleaned suit I felt cool and confident. When I arrived, I noticed everyone else also had a fresh haircut and dapper attire. But I had one thing nobody else did – a really great personality! As I started to chat with the other interviewees I soon realized they too seemed to be really good people persons. What was I going to do to stand out?  I reassured myself that I am a really good people person and I will knock this interview right out of the park. Only problem was my homerun hit felt more like a pop fly to center. From the start of the interview, I struggled.  My answers were choppy, cliché and full of um’s and ah’s. Nothing I said made me stand out from anybody else. Having looked over their website and reviewing the pros of their school I thought I was ready to go, but I wasn’t nearly enough prepared.

At the end, I had a doubtful feeling but tried to remain optimistic. Perhaps I did not do as poorly as I thought. In anticipation, I checked the mail daily and then it came, an envelope from UNE. I ripped the envelope open to read a letter. WAITLIST! Remaining optimistic I just knew I would get in. As time went on I ultimately ended up waitlisted at 3 schools and eventually, I was not accepted to any of them.

Obviously, I needed to improve as an applicant. So I took physics I again and got an A. I took more time researching programs that were a better fit for my stats. Lastly, I knew I needed to address my poor interviewing skills. Just being a people person didn’t equal a quality interview. I hired an interviewing coach. At our first meeting his first words were “I hate your shirt, there is not a chance I would accept you into my grad program.” Boom, it just got real, but that is exactly what I needed.

If you are trying to get into PT school I would love to help you! Find me via:
Twitter: @DPT_USA
Facebook: Dalin Hansen 

Also check out some of my other posts about my interview experience and advice. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Welcome to Budget Meeting

My wife and I have been working on successful budgeting for our 7 years of marriage and for most of those years we failed. We started using Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) a little over a year ago which gave us a good start. Luckily we started this during physical therapy school because now that we have student loan payments every month we know where were at financially.

When we started budgeting my wife would make a monthly budget, I would not follow it, she would get frustrated, and then we would start the process over the next month. This was the worst possible system! Then we got on the FPU budget and had budget meeting every couple of weeks. Now more recently we have started using the manual Personal Finances for Self-Reliance (Free online) created by the LDS church. We are now doing a weekly budget where we crunch the numbers for our weekly needs. We have found our families financial needs change every week so why would we do a monthly budget when our budget needs to be more dynamic than that. Along with this weekly budget we have a very short (5 minute) nightly budget meeting where we look at our expenses from the day and minus them off of the available balance for the weekly budget.

For example, we budget $125 for groceries per week if on Tuesday we spent $22 we would plug into our budget that we have $103 for the rest of that budget cycle. We keep track of what we have spent every day. Yes, that is correct a DAILY budget meeting.

It seems like we spend a lot of time budgeting but money is involved in every aspect of life (whether you like it or not) so why wouldn't we dedicate a lot of time to this endeavor. We have found by assigning our money where to go, we end up spending less on things we didn't actually want. We no longer look at our debt card statement and wonder where all the money went. We use to find ourselves saying "what in the world did we buy for $68.73 at Wal-mart!?" Not only do we know what our money is buying, we tell it what to buy.

PT school is expensive and the loans add up quickly so wherever your are in the process (pre-PT, SPT, or a DPT) start now.

Please leave your budget experiences or advice in the comment section below. Share what has worked or has not worked!