If you had asked me this question at the beginning of PT school, I would have told you I wanted to do a physical therapy residency for the fancy initials. Who wouldn’t want all of those creds? I’m happy to say that I have grown tremendously since then. PT school has provided several ups and downs, and the experience has brought me to a point in my life where I am extremely serious about my future career in physical therapy, and would love to pursue a physical therapy residency.
Why physical therapy residency?
There are many reasons for pursuing a physical therapy residency, but one of my main reasons is to further my education in a specified area of PT. I feel it is our duty, as physical therapists, to provide patients with the utmost quality of care, which means furthering our education to provide the most advanced, evidence-based treatments possible. While you can learn quite a bit from continuing education courses, why not pursue a program where you have access to several mentors with advanced training that can help you in the process?
My other reason for pursing a physical therapy residency stems from me being competitive; I have always possessed a strong desire to be the best I can be no matter what I'm doing. If you go into the physical therapy profession to truly heal people, then why would you choose to be mediocre at it? I try to maintain the attitude that, if I was paying for physical therapy, I would want a physical therapist that truly cares about me, by giving me access to the best treatment possible. Instead, somehow, some PTs fall into this mindset that all they want is the degree so they can make money. While some of these PTs' patients will still get better, why not rise to the occasion and better yourself, so that your patients not only listen to you, but are inspired by you!
What am I doing to make myself an appealing candidate to physical therapy residency programs?
I've held various leadership positions since I was in high school, which has continued through my undergrad training and into PT school. I’m a class officer of my DPT class, and I was recently elected as the Web Administrator of the AAOMPT Student Special Interest Group. Having this position with the AAOMPT sSIG has provided me with several opportunities to network with PTs from around the country and, more specifically, with directors of residency programs. I’m by no means saying that this will guarantee my acceptance into a program, but at the very least I’m getting my name out to important people!
I’m also apart of a great mentorship group started by 2 excellent physical therapists: Jeff Moore, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT and Gene Shirokobrod, PT, DPT, OMPT. Being a member of this group has afforded me access to some brilliant minds in physical therapy, and has motivated me to be more like them!
Where do I see myself in 5 years?
This is a great question to ask yourself frequently in PT school. It keeps me thinking about my future, which helps me stay on track towards my goals. After all, we’re all about goals in physical therapy, right? At this point, I plan to pursue an orthopedic residency program. After that, I’d like to attend a sports residency program, and when those 2 are complete, I plan to pursue fellowship training in orthopedic manual physical therapy. As far as the physical therapy residency programs to which I plan to apply, I’ll save that for a future post. I have approximately 1 year left in my program and I plan to start the application process on my last internship prior to graduation.