As the 2019 school year gets underway, we thought we would take this opportunity to share each of our educational stories and successes. As one of six Therapeutic Associates Core Values, ‘We support a culture of learning’ speaks to many of us. It is our hope that by sharing our experiences that we may inspire you to continue your journey of learning in whatever way you are able!
Matthew Rogers, PT, DPT
One of my favorite things about being a Physical Therapist is teaching! I find that I have lots of ways to use my experience and knowledge to teach others including patients, DPT students, my staff, and I get asked to teach in my community frequently. They say teaching is the best strategy to keep learning and I would definitely agree with that. I find that I have to stay up to date on new skills, research, and strategies to teach others and it keeps me on my toes.
Talking to new PTs often, one of the biggest desires I hear is to have formal mentorship to help advance their careers. I recently became a level 2 Certified Mentor for Therapeutic Associates which means I am qualified to mentor other Physical Therapists within Therapeutic Associates and help shape the next wave of PTs in the Northwest. This level of mentorship was pivotal for my own development early in my career, so I am excited to share it forward. TAI has been known as the industry leader in formal outpatient mentorship for Physical Therapy for over 20 years now. I was part of the second class of our APTA Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Residency Program which has graduated 45 residents since 2007!
As an APTA Certified Clinical Instructor, I take a few Doctor of Physical Therapy students under my wing every year for anywhere from 2-5 month clinical rotations. They become a key part of our clinic while they are here and our patients love the interaction with PTs and Student PTs as they report feeling like they get more education about their care. Some of my past students have gone on to be staff PTs and clinic directors within Therapeutic Associates and other companies and even CEO of a PT company.
One of my favorite ways to teach is as an adjunct instructor with a Yoga Teacher Training at Thrive Yoga in Oregon City. Twice a year, I get to teach about anatomy, physiology and kinesiology specific to yoga practice. This has really stretched my knowledge and actually taught me a lot about what I know or need to know about anatomy and how to apply it to yoga.
Director of Sports Performance
Often strength & conditioning coaches are looked at like drill sergeants. Barking orders of “get lower!” or “add some weight to that bar!” but I pride myself on being more of a teacher than a rep counter. I firmly believe that getting the most out of an athlete takes an inordinate amount of effort on the part of not only the athlete but the coach as well. It is my job to get my athletes to buy in to the programming they are working through. If an athlete does not understand why he/she is doing an exercise or a group of exercises chances are they will not get the most out of those exercises. The mechanisms behind the adaptations we are looking for should be explained in a manner that makes sense to the level of athlete you are working with. You are a teacher, not a rep counter.
In terms of my own personal education I am a huge believer in experience as the biggest teacher of all. Though there is a degree of background information that must be in place in any given subject to develop a thorough understanding of the subject, there is no subsititution for practice in the field. I have learned far more from my athletes themselves than I ever could learn from books on the subject.
I am also a student of sports science. I try to read up as often as I can on new innovations in the field and am constantly making sure I am up to date on my methods and practices. Journals, clinics and online resources are all great ways to learn about the field. Networking with other coaches is also a great way to bounce ideas around and perhaps develop new ways of looking at training and coaching in general. Learning is extremely collaborative and working together often unlocks ideas that were previously just filed away.
Jamie Peterson, LMT
Before my start with Therapeutic Associates four years ago, I most certainly had past employers tell me how much they valued education. While they were great at projecting that, Therapeutic Associates is the only one backing it up. Every year Therapeutic Associates clinic directors are encouraged to allot a continuing education tuition based on their employees’ position and responsibilities within the clinic. This is a wide spread, company driven initiative and we are continuously encouraged to use it. And use it, we do!
To some, my educational background is not as impressive as those within my clinic family. I have had my own challenges with our educational structure, though that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy learning. Quite the opposite, actually; I just learn in a different way. We all have had to fill out some form or another where listing our educational level is required. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to select ‘Some College’ with no option to include my vocational certification. I didn’t fit the mold to make it through a traditional four-year college experience and I am okay with that. Great, really. I have made positive life choices that have led me to a fulfilling home life, financial standing, and the knowledge that while I may not be in a job that makes millions, I’m truly happy. How many people can say that?!
Along with my ‘Some College’ from Portland State University and Clackamas Community College, I also have a Professional Licensing Program Certification in Massage Therapy from Ashmead College (equivalent to approx. 755 credit hours, whereas the State of Oregon only requires 625 currently). I played softball for 13 years and spent over 1,400 hours in the athletic training room during my high school years- and I Loved it. In the last four years I have utilized my piece of the pie, shall we say, to become a Yoga instructor through the Yoga Teacher Training at Thrive Yoga & Wellness, maintain my CPR certification, take multiple company lead trainings on topics such as our crazy U.S. Healthcare system and how it relates to other global models, and that’s just to start. With the support of my most recent tuition, I have taken the leap to put my Massage Therapy training to use and have passed the National Certification Board’s (NCBTMB) exam. I have recently obtained licensing from the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy so I can begin my “other” career along side my work here in the clinic.
In the next year, I hope to be able to serve the local OCPT community and work towards achieve a Specialty Certificate in Clinical Rehabilitative Massage. This specialty certification is held through the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and requires about 162 credit hours relevant to Clinical Orthopedic Massage. Wish me luck!
Kelsy Wright, PT, DPT
I’ve always been passionate about education and that’s one of the best things about being in this career. It is always changing and progressing as research continues and advances in health care are being made. I first earned my Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science from Pacific University in 2012. Then I went on to Denver Colorado where I obtained my Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2016 from Regis University. After practicing for about 3 years I decided that I wanted to further continue my education to become a certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. This certification required me to accumulate at least 2,000 hours of direct patient care in orthopedics and take an exam. I successfully passed in July of this year and I look forward to continuing to improve my skills to better serve my community managing orthopedic injuries.
The other great thing about the physical therapy profession is the ability to be versatile and provide care for a variety of injuries and diseases. Although my main focus in practice is on orthopedics, I also have an interest in Vestibular rehabilitation and other neurological diseases. I have taken continuing education courses on vestibular rehabilitation, especially in canalith respositioning maneuvers and managing BPPV. I am also currently working on becoming LSVT BIG certified to be able to offer specific and effective treatments to improve function and movement for people who have Parkinson’s Disease. My ongoing goal is to continue to broaden my horizons within the field of physical therapy to be a well-rounded therapist who is able to use the best current evidence to provide the most effective care for my patients.
Stefanie Tschoeke, PT, DPT
As a physical therapist, the need for education never stops. That’s what makes this job so exciting. The field is always growing, innovating, and researching the best ways to get people back to doing the things they love. I began my journey to becoming a physical therapist after graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2015 with a degree in Kinesiology – Exercise Movement Science. Two weeks after graduation I moved to Atlanta, Georgia where I received my Doctorate in physical therapy, graduating in May of 2018. While finally being done with school and exams has been nice, the learning never stops. As a relatively new physical therapist, education is still very close to me and important for me to grow within my profession. Education allows me to treat my patients more efficiently and confidently, allowing physical therapy sessions to be a fun, enjoyable experience for both patients and myself.
Some of this education is through mentoring within the clinic. This means that while I am treating my patients, I have a seasoned mentor within the company spend 1/2 a day with me to provide clinical advice, wisdom, exercise ideas, and assistance with refining my manual techniques. In addition to hands on learning through mentoring, I enjoy reading up on current research, taking continuing education classes, and studying on my own. Most recently, I have begun studying for my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam to better treat some of the higher level athletes that we oftentimes see in this clinic. Future education/learning plans that I have for myself include: obtaining my OCS (orthopedic certified specialist), and taking courses in learning how to specific functional movement patterns (SFMA) to fine tune my ability to identify movement faults during normal daily activities such as squatting and twisting. Unrelated to physical therapy, I am always up for learning new card games, hidden hiking spots in Oregon or the Pacific Northwest, and general trivia facts.
My passion for continuing education started when I was a senior in high school. As a senior, I took a college prep class that was based on introductory level sports medicine. Part of that class was obtaining 80 hours of clinical experience each semester with my high school’s certified athletic trainer. The most important take away that I learned from that class was that I am a hands on learner. This same learning format is what led me to George Fox University to study Athletic Training for my undergraduate degree.
George Fox’s Athletic Training program is structured similar to the high school course, full time student credit hours along with obtaining 150 hours with the clinical rotation that I was assigned to. The clincal rotations that I participated in were working along side athletic trainers at West Linn high school, Portland State University football, OHSU, and various sports at George Fox. Through these clinical rotations I learned most of my valuable skills. This type of learning environment also allowed us to take the things that we were learning in class from the text books and apply it to tour real world job setting.
After I graduated from George Fox I took the Board of Certification for athletic training test and successfully became a certified athletic trainer. Part of keeping my certification valid is accumulating 50 unit hours of continuing education every year. This is in place because the medical field is always changing based off of new research that is being found and me as a clinician should be keeping up on these changes. This past June I attended the National Athletic Trainers Association national convention. At this convention there were people from all over the nation with different settings and backgrounds. Each day of the convention there was conferences for various subjects that included concussion management, shoulder surgeries rehabilitation, back pain rehabilitation, sports specific injury prevention, new or updated modality practices, hands on learning labs for various skills, and much more. Throughout the year I will attend other events as well as online continuing education opportunities.
I am also planning on furthering my education by getting a Master’s degree in sports medicine starting the fall of 2020. I am still exploring all of my schooling options but the topics that I would like to pursue is Biophysical Kinesiology or sports and exercise science: exercise physiology.
Growing up, I’ve always wanted to help others. There were many occupations I was trying to choose from until I had my first major injury, a meniscus tear. From the first session of physical therapy, I knew that this occupation was the path for me to help others. I earned my bachelor’s degree in both Athletic Training and Exercise Science from George Fox University. I had clinical rotations as an Athletic Training student at a variety of places such as George Fox University, OHSU (Concussion team), St. Mary’s Academy, and Woodburn High School.
There are a few plans I have in the future. In a few weeks, I am taking my Board of Certification (BOC) exam for Athletic Training. In a couple of months, I am planning on taking my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS) exam. I am applying for physical therapy programs for the upcoming fall. After graduating from a physical therapy program, I will apply to a residency program to become a Sports Certified Specialist (SCS).
So, as you can see, we embody our Core Value, ‘We support a culture of learning’ here at Therapeutic Associates Oregon City Physical Therapy.
We hope our stories have inspired you to continue on your path of learning. Please keep an eye out for our upcoming discussion series happening quarterly at our partner in health, Thrive Yoga & Wellness!