Thanks for reaching out. Most interviews lasted all day, but it’s different at every school, so you’ll have to check with each school. Here’s a post I wrote with advice and information about the interview process: http://pt2b15.tumblr.com/post/57457569408/how-to-master-your-physical-therapy-school-interview
I’ve had a draft of this post pending for a few months, but I always feel like there’s more to say, more research to do, more thoughts to think before I finish it. However, in light of the upcoming #DPTStudent Twitter chat on Women in PT and Gloria Steinem’s 80th birthday, I decided to write out some of my thoughts on women in PT as they are now. I’m sure they will change and evolve, and I look forward to revisiting this important topic again and again. The way I see it as a PT student, women in the field face issues related to at least three different areas:
A lot has been written about women in general earning 77 cents to every dollar a man earns. In PT, just as in other fields, women stopping work, pausing work, or working part time, can explain some of this phenomenon.
However, I think it is worth delving a little deeper into this issue. Even women who never stop working fulltime are less likely to ask for a salary equal to that of their male peers. or to ask for the raises their male counterparts are requesting. But even more troubling is a study which showed that both men and women are subconsciously inclined to pay women less. When show resumes identical in everything except gender, both men and women made offers to the women for less pay, and also respected the candidates less. It is important to recognize that the gender gap in women’s pay stems from more than just some women’s decision to work less.
With regards to the third point, we coincidentally just spoke in class today about patients who flirt with practioners and cross lines by touching them inappropriately. While this seems to happen to male PT’s also, at least in my class, they seemed to feel less threatened by it. I’m also curious about less obvious harassment. What about the patient who says he wants to work with a certain female therapist simply because she’s pretty? While some may take this as a compliment, I would certainly rather be valued for my brains and eight years of hard work studying than for my looks.
Congrats on getting into PT school! Clinical experiences differ a little bit from school to school. Some schools get you into the clinic right from the beginning, and some don’t send you out until the end. However, no matter where you go to school, you will have had several weeks of clinical experience by the time you graduate. You can read about the official APTA requirements for clinical education here. Usually in these experiences, especially the later rotations, students are in the clinic full time and do not have classes (although they may still have assignments for school).
At my school, we have four full-time rotations: eight weeks during fall of year two, 10 weeks the summer after year two, and two nine week rotations during the end of year three. During this time, we have to do an assignment for school, but we have no classes and are at the clinic full time following our clinical instructor’s schedule. I had three long days because that’s what my CI’s schedule was, but some of my classmates had more typical schedules. Since clinicals are full-time during which we’re not in school, they don’t resemble being in school at all. Some describe it as “working for free,” but essentially you are working to treat patients alongside your CI, and becoming increasingly independent as time goes by. You learn a LOT and gaining real-world experience to prepare you to be able to work as a practicing PT as soon as you graduate.
It’s funny how once you pay attention to something, you see it everywhere. I’ve had prosthetics on my mind since I’m beginning a class on the subject, and now it seems as though prosthetics are all over the pop culture news:
1. The most obvious example is Oscar Pistorius, on trial for allegedly murdering his girlfriend. I think his prosthetics are the main reason why is case is getting so much attention.
2. Then there’s another Olympic athlete, Snowboarder Amy Purdy, who is currently competing on Dancing with the Stars. She found a benefit to her disability, saying, “If [other contestants] break a leg they’re out of the competition. But if I break a leg I’ll just get a new one.”
3. Another dancer, Boston Marathon attack survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis made the news for being able to dance for the first time since the terrorist attack took her legs. She also aspires to be on “Dancing with the Stars.”
4. A non-famous teen made the news for engineering a prosthetic hand for a young family friend using the internet and a 3D printer. Very cool!
One of my favorite things about Twitter is the ability to engage in professional discussions with my peers and mentors. I’ve enjoyed talking about PT issues on Wednesday nights through the #DPTstudent chat and also #solvePT, and also general healthcare issues through #meded and #HCLDR.
Two recent #HCLDR chats I’ve participated in recently have been based off of thought-provoking articles:
1. This NYT blog post is about the importance of not using medical jargon while interacting with patients. During the chat, I noted that in my PT program we are penalized whenever we use medical terminology with our “patients” during practicals. This practice was useful in the clinic, as it reminded me to explain things better to patients and use common terms such as “tailbone” instead of medical terminology such as “sacrum,” for example. It turns out this gesture is very much appreciated by the healthcare community, and I received a lot of praise about it.
2. The other chat was based off of this article by a prominent physician about the care he received after breaking his neck. One of the highlights of the article was when he notes, “The physical and occupational therapists were the best part of the professional staff; they did a very good job of helping me to learn to walk and to exercise muscles weakened by disuse.” However, he does not always receive high-quality care — despite the fact that he is well-known in the facilities where he stays, almost an “undercover boss.” For this reason, my takeaway from the article, which proved to be much-retweeted was: Treat everyone like they’re an “undercover boss.”
I’m learning a lot and getting to know so many inspirational healthcare professionals through these chats, so if you’re on Twitter, be sure to give them a try! And of course, follow me on Twitter so we can chat too.
Hi JSPT. In short, you will be a little behind some of your classmates who majored in kinesiology or exercise science and had more in-depth anatomy exposure. As I wrote about my first semester,
I also believe having a different background from many of my peers made things challenging. I remember in anatomy lab one day, while studying the hip muscles, a friend who had studied exercise science or kinesiology as an undergrad complained, “Damn, I used to know all these muscle attachments, now I’m going to have to relearn them.” Meanwhile, my own thoughts were more like: “Piriformis? Obturator? I thought only Glute Max was back here.” I imagine that I had to spend a few more hours learning what the muscles were even called, what they did, and where they attached, compared to her having to relearn things she had previously studied.
However, there will probably also be several classmates in the same boat as you. The professors realize that not everyone has the same anatomy background, and that’s why you all have to take the class. If they thought everyone coming in already knew the origins and insertions to every muscle, believe me, they wouldn’t waste time teaching it again. You might have a little extra studying to do, but by the end of the semester, you and your classmates should be on equal ground.
My advice would be not to study over the summer. Although you might have to work a little harder during the semester, you’re eventually going to learn what you need to know. You also don’t know how your professor is going to cover and organize the material. Is it enough to know that glut max inserts on the femur, or will she want you to memorize that it insert on the gluteal tuberosity of the femur? Some of the actions and innervations of muscles can vary a little bit depending on the reference you use. Although it’s a good idea to know how these opinions vary for your general knowledge, to pass her class, she may want you to learn things her way. And lastly, you’ll be working hard enough once school rolls around, enjoy your last few months of free time!
Today is my blog’s third birthday. I wrote my first post when I was living in Israel and planning out my pre-reqs so I could apply to school. Now I’m more than halfway done with school. It’s been a great adventure, and I’m excited to see what happens next!