Just in case you haven’t heard, I just graduated from PT school! It was a long, intense 3 years, but I made it! At this point, I thought I’d share my biggest takeaways from the journey that is PT school in hopes that it will ease the minds of you current PT students!
1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This was a tough pill for me to swallow, and I’m not convinced that I’m totally okay with it still, but I’m working on it! We are constantly put in uncomfortable situations in both our classes and our clinicals, but this is what makes us better!
2. The more you know, the more you don’t know. The amount of information that is thrown at us in 3 years is daunting at best. The more I felt that I learned about a subject, the more I felt like there is still so much more to find out about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘when you get to the point where you feel like you know everything, then you’ve got a problem’.
3. You won’t know everything by the time you graduate. And I might add, you will forget things and have to go back and re-study them! With the amount of information that we are required to learn, we will forget things, but that’s okay, we’re human! We’re in this profession for the lifelong learning so if you think that you’ll be done studying when you graduate, you may want to choose a different career path!
4. If it doesn’t challenge you, it definitely won’t change you. I learned this on my last rotation. It was definitely very challenging, and as much as I complained about how hard it was, I am much better off for completing it. How can we grow our skills if we are not challenged in our thought process? The answer is: we can’t. I encourage you to seek out tough clinical rotations to make you a better clinician by the time you graduate!
5. Don’t be afraid to talk to top-notch clinicians. They aren’t as scary as you think they are! Through my position with the AAOMPT sSIG, I was able to chat with some excellent therapists from all over the country and they are very willing to talk with students! But don’t think you have to be in a leadership position to talk to these folks! I’ve also reached out to clinicians that I want to learn from, and they are more than willing to connect with students that are eager to learn! Lastly, I’m part of an amazing mentorship group where I am able to connect with several seasoned PTs, Fresh PTs, and students. Can’t say enough good things about #PTMasterminds. I know Kate would equally agree! This pic below showcases a few of my classmates that are part of this amazing group!
6. “The patient doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I cannot stress enough that soft skills are essential in building a therapeutic alliance with the patient. Use your communication skills to your advantage because you could be the smartest therapist on the planet, but if you can’t communicate with your patient, then that knowledge is useless.
Hope this helps you along in your PT journey! I’ll leave you with a few inspirational quotes that I referenced in the speech I gave at my hooding ceremony: