I have to admit that when Ben asked me to participate in posting on the Move It blog website, I was flattered and a little (ok a lot) intimidated. I spent a lot of time reading other posts, found them fascinating and then thought… “What in the world am I going to say before I’ve even entered the :Real World:?” (I am a 3rd year PT student preparing to graduate in May.) But, alas, true to my extroverted personality, I realized I have a
Again, however, that intimidating feeling returns. I have had many discussions with classmates of mine about our near (much nearer than we believe) future in this profession. We have spent 3 years of blood, sweat, and tears (well at least some tears for sure) pouring our brains and hearts into this profession we feel passionately about. Now our caffeine riddled, sleep deprived bodies face the reality: How do we put all of this information we’ve learned to its best use for our professional lives?Many students, including myself, are concerned with being “stuck” in an area of PT once they start out in it. What if we (Gasp!) don’t know if that’s definitely the track we want to be on for our entire professional career? While the opportunity for specializing in areas (NCS, OCS, WCS, etc) offer amazing enhancements to the profession, it also adds some pressure to decision making process. Should I specialize right away? If I do, what if I want to change career paths? If I don’t, am I not advancing my career the way I should? Many of the same questions arise regarding residency programs. Several friends of mine are pursuing residencies because of the unique and beneficial opportunities they present.
I myself am/was considering doing a Neurology residency. It would provide me with a wide knowledge base in advanced skills that would not have had the opportunity to master in PT school. I would be exposed to a variety of patients with many different neurologic diagnoses, and it is also attractive to think of being able to sit for my NCS after one year and seemingly “fast track” my career. However, some more practical notions come into my considerations that make me hesitant. This particular residency I am considering, for example, does not start until January. I graduate in May. Though I would be perfectly fine (and happy) to wait until July to begin working, I cannot wait until January secondary to financial pressures (student loans anyone?) and the desire to put my degree into practice! It has been offered as a suggestion to work prn somewhere, but I fear my own personal anxiety of not having a very stable work schedule/ income would make that 6 months quite tumultuous. In an ideal world, I would love to find a place where I could work full time, gain neuro experience, practice my skills, do the residency, and come back to my position. (I know, I’m a dreamer J ). Then there is the question of value for the profession. Residencies are fairly new to Physical Therapy, and have already been met with skepticism, not just from students, but from seasoned therapists. I have listened in on, and endured many “What’s the point?” conversations and have not myself had a very good answer to provide. Any thoughts and feedback (HELP!) would be very much appreciated for this soon to be new graduate DPT.