Monday, August 31, 2015

Experiences: Clay Case PT, DPT, CSCS

Clay Case PT, DPT, CSCS is a graduate of Daemen College and currently works outpatient orthopedics in New York. Presently he is applying for an orthopedic residency and pursuing a certification in Mechanical Diagnosis. For more info about Dr. Case check out his website

  • How was the transition/learning curve coming out of school and starting your first job?
Personally, I got lucky in that I was hired on at a previous clinical affiliation site. For academics requirements, students at my school needed to complete 4 separate affiliations. My 3rd affiliation was an outpatient orthopedic clinic in my hometown that was a perfect fit for me and apparently for them. After I graduated, I started working there under a limited permit and have since transitioned to a staff physical therapist.

One of the biggest obstacles coming out I think is realizing the balance of how much you actually learned and how little you truly know. The therapists at this clinic have provided good mentorship throughout any troubling cases or general weak spots in my knowledge which is invaluable to me. Because of that mentorship, I think my transition has been much easier than if I were taking a position in a different clinic or setting.
  • What is your work load like and what is typical day is like for you?
Typically, I will see 1-2 patients every half an hour and an initial evaluation for 1 hour each day. Currently, I am still building up a caseload and, accordingly, I am working a part-time schedule. A typical day will begin at 7:30am and 1-2 patients will arrive for their appointments on each half an hour. An initial evaluation will be scheduled somewhere throughout the day according to the patient's preference with an hour allotment of time for that evaluation. Depending on the day, I will work until 2:30pm or work through to 7:00pm. Notes are completed whenever time allows for it, and I try to finish them off during my patient's session so I don't have a huge stack of work at the end of the day.
  • What do you wish you would have known/been prepared for after graduating?
So far, I feel like any knowledge I could have gained on insurance companies and their policies would have been beneficial. Although we did receive some of that education during the didactic portion of our DPT program, the topic is certainly immense and requires continued learning. Clinically, I felt very prepared in knowing who I can help, who I can't help, and who I might need a little assistance in helping. While that comfort may have come from the clinic I chose to work with, I think active searching for a nurturing work environment directly out will improve a new grad's ability to grow. I'm sure a handful of situations will come about in the future that will inspire other answers to this questions, but currently I'm pretty satisfied with my preparation for new grad life.
  • Coming out of school what was compensation is like/managing student loans, etc?
I graduated in May 2015, so I am currently still figuring out the student loan management! Although I'm still currently in my grace period for my loans, I have been steadily building reserves from my income to pay off my loans prior to my interest capitalizing. I have decided to maintain my minimalist college budget for as long as I can in order to pay off my loans in the quickest time frame that I can. That's a personal choice, and I certainly don't claim it to be the best route! However, it just fits my lifestyle best and the thought of being debt-free as soon as possible really appeals to me. If that means I have to give up a few big purchases for a couple years still, I will be putting off that short term satisfaction for the long term gain.
  • Additional advice.
Never, ever, ever, stop being hungry. This profession is one of the best in the world because of the amazing results we can get with relatively low cost and low risk to the patient. Every time a person experiences success, you should be proud of yourself and celebrate that victory; however, don't forget how you got to that victory. A whole lot of work went into that, and I think one of the biggest pieces is continuing to advance your knowledge and skills. Regardless of your situation, you should always strive to become the best you that you can. Just because you're still in school, just because you're a new grad and have loans, just because you have 5 million things to do other than learn....Those ideas shouldn't hold you back from seeking out any topics you want to learn. Want to learn more about Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy? Take some MDT courses, student membership is discounted. Want to learn more about training athletes through strengthening and conditioning? The NSCA offers a student membership which receives discounts for study material for the Certified Strengthening and Conditioning Specialist track. Many organizations offer these discounts, and many PTs offer mentorship!

We got in this profession to help people. Do it the best you can.

Huge thanks to Dr. Case for his inspiring word. For more physical therapist's experiences click HERE

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