Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Graduate School and Family Life

Working toward my Doctorate of Physical Therapy has been tougher than expected. Having two kids and a pregnant wife has added to the chaos, but in a weird way I actually think my situation makes it easier for me to buckle down and study. When it comes to free time I have none; nearly every second dedicated to studying or playing with my kids. So when I receive an offer to do something besides study or play with my kids its a no brainer. Having a family in PT school is the best!

Perks to having a family in PT school include:
  1. Built in support system. My wife listens to my complaints and my successes. When I get an A on a test so does she. On the flip side, when I get an F, she's feeling it too. My classmates might have parents or friends that listen but its just not the same.
  2. Kids make life exciting. It is so easy to just go day to day with no excitement because all you do is study. I have the luxury of having kids to remind me how great life is. My kids always want to have dance parties and freak out with excitement at the very thought of a bowl of ice cream. Kids bring excitement to the dull study days of PT school.
  3. Family is motivation. You may or may not agree with me but having two kids, one on the way, and a wife puts more pressure on me to perform. My life is not the only one that is affected by my doing well and passing my classes.  I have lives that directly depend on my success and completion of the program.
  4. Healthy living comes with a family. While my classmates are eating french frys and milk shakes my wife is making our family baked chicken and steamed brussel sprouts. Because I am so busy at school my wife takes care of all our families' meals. This helps me maintain healthy eating habits.
  5. Budgeting skills are acquired. Because my loan allotment is the same as my single counter parts I am forced to budget. By learning how to budget adequately I am learning valuable lessons of what are really things I need verses things I really want. Because of this, I have found most things I think I need are really just wants. This will help me after graduation as I put all my effort into paying off my loans as quickly as possible. 

There are so many wonderful things I could say about having a family in PT School. In summation I have it easy compared to my classmates.  I cannot imagine making it through PT school on my own; luckily I don’t have to. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

If You're Not In You're Out

Becoming a physical therapist is much more than just going to school, more than getting a job, more than just retaining a license to practice.  Become a physical therapist because you are passionate. If you are not passionate about being a physical therapist you need to choose a different option. As I am becoming more aware of what it takes to become a physical therapist I am starting to realize its not a job or even a profession; being a physical therapist is a way of life! Becoming a PT is more than a title, it is something you should wear on your sleeve and on your heart. As I recently attended a regional meeting for the TPTA I was disappointed to see the lack of support. How are we to further our work if we cannot unite our voice.  If you are not willing to sacrifice some of your time and effort for our common goal then maybe you are in the wrong field. As I have written and called government officials seeking to further the profession my words fall on deaf ears because the words of one are weak but voices united carry power. If you are a PT, PTA, or SPT do your part! If you are not yet a PT you need to understand you must put in more than the minimum effort. You are expected to become an advocate for the profession. If your not on board then you are out, so make your choice; either get in and get passionate or get out, because you cannot be both.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Question: What To Ask

Asking questions is a key to becoming a PT.

Slowly I am learning what questions to ask. At this point in my process of becoming a PT it boils down to just a couple of questions.  The first question is "What is the purpose?" You can apply this to anything. Before I start homework I ask myself what is the purpose. This helps me recognize what I need to get out of the homework. Before I read my texts, by asking this question I have a better idea of what to look for. Knowing what to look for gives me purpose, which in turn motivates. As I begin to think of exercise prescription, what is the purpose? Am I trying to activate a specific muscle, looking to strengthen a group of muscles, working on muscular endurance, etc.  By asking the simple question "what is the purpose" it gives direction and meaning to what you are doing. What is the purpose of treating a patient? Know your purpose.

Next, is it functional? When studying make sure you are making the gained knowledge functional. In other word apply what you learn. Knowing something without having a function doesn't help anyone.  Getting people to exercise is good but getting someone to exercise with purpose is better! Is the plan or program you are giving to the patient going to help them become more functional, if not don't do it, what's the point? 

By asking the purpose and whether or not it is functional you create a functional purpose. Knowledge is only power if it can be applied. So before you do anything, ask yourself- what is the purpose of this and is it functional?

In applying for physical therapy school it is key to know what questions to ask throughout the process.

Why am I applying to this school?
Why do I want to be a PT?
Is it realistic for me to get accepted to the school I am applying to?
What am I willing to sacrifice in order to get in?

Its also important to know what questions to ask when you are being interviewed. Remember you need the school but the school needs you. This is your chance to interview them as well. Make sure you ask sincere questions. Study everything you can about the school and ask questions that apply to that school specifically. A few questions I asked during my interview included:
What do students typically enjoy the most about the program; what do they struggle with the most?
What does the school do to help students become active in the APTA?
Are there any opportunities to help faculty with research? If so, what kind of opportunities?

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a comment, email me, or send me a tweet.

twitter: @dpt_usa