From Student to Director: My Career Journey at Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy

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In late high school, I found myself fascinated by both medicine and sports. Moving into college, I soon discovered that physical therapy was a field that seamlessly blended my two passions. As I ventured through those early college years, the allure of physical therapy grew stronger, promising a rewarding career without the midnight shifts or the abundance of bodily fluids that come with other medical professions.

In 1996, I joined Richland Physical Therapy as a physical therapy aide, a role I returned to after graduating from Central Washington University (CWU). 

My early days in the clinic were eye-opening. I was inspired by the smart, dedicated women in leadership positions and the professional yet enjoyable environment. Our patients appreciated the care they received, and many returned, allowing us to build lasting relationships. The experiences I had working in this clinic solidified my decision to pursue a career in physical therapy.

physical therapy assistant Lisa Holden Jackson assists a patient with exercises

With my pathway determined, I moved from my hometown to pursue a degree in physical therapy at the University of Washington. Halfway through my last year of clinical internships while at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane, I had a chance encounter with a former colleague from Richland. While we were catching up, she informed me that a staff PT from the Richland clinic was taking a director role within the company and was moving to Oregon, so they would be hiring around the time of my graduation.

With my degree in hand, I applied and got the job as a staff PT back at Richland Physical Therapy, the place where I had gotten my start in the PT industry. That was October 2000, and I’ve never looked back.

Physical therapists work together to guide a patient during an exercise

As a staff PT, I benefited greatly from the supportive environment and mentorship my director and fellow PTs provided. They helped me increase my patient load and my comfort with complex cases. Despite being new, I was immediately included as part of the team. As colleagues, we collaborated closely on patient care, attended continuing education courses together, and even socialized outside of work, fostering a strong sense of camaraderie.

From the beginning, as a company, Therapeutic Associates valued and supported my professional development, inquiring about my leadership interests and goals while respecting my desire to focus on growing as a PT. Alongside ongoing clinical education, I participated in several leadership and mentorship courses taught by our executive team. These experiences exposed me to the larger company culture and allowed me to connect with therapists from various clinics across the Pacific Northwest.

Therapeutic Associates PT Cohort

Eleven years into my career, our clinic director approached me about taking over her role as she prepared for retirement. I felt a deep sense of pride and investment in our clinic and the company, and I eagerly accepted the opportunity. Over the next few years, I transitioned into the role, sharing leadership responsibilities until I officially became the Director of Therapeutic Associates – Richland in 2013.

Interacting with other clinic leaders is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a director. Our company is filled with smart, talented individuals who continually inspire me to expand my knowledge and involvement. In 2019, I became a Therapeutic Associates Shareholder, giving me a broader perspective on the administrative and clinical components of our organization across four states.

Throughout every level of the company, our primary goal remains consistent: caring for our patients and supporting our employees. 

I am deeply grateful for the mentorship, support, and continuous learning opportunities I’ve received at Therapeutic Associates PT. I plan to continue working here until I retire, contributing to a company that prioritizes growth and development.

physical therapist Rob Barnes supports a young patient with fun and active rehabilitative exercise at Boise State Street PT

Reflecting on my journey from a student to a director within this company, I am filled with gratitude and excitement for the future. 

My advice to aspiring physical therapists is to seek out companies that prioritize employee growth and development. Embrace mentorship, support, and continuous learning, as these elements are crucial for personal and professional growth. 

I am thankful for the opportunities and support provided by Therapeutic Associates PT and look forward to many more years of growth and contribution.

Interested in more insight? 

Check out this video to hear from other teammates about why they like working at Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy.

Physical therapy is one of the fastest-growing careers in the country. One of the benefits of being a physical therapist is that it offers individuals the chance to have a meaningful impact on patients every single day. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about joining the Therapeutic Associates team, visit our careers page to learn more and check out the current openings!

Join the Therapeutic Associates Family

If you’re looking for an opportunity to join a company that is committed to a collaborative culture of growth, inclusion and fulfillment, supported by resources that make a difference in your life, the life of your patients, your local communities and the world, consider a career with Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy.  With clinics throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California, we are always on the lookout for exceptional people who would be a great fit for our team!

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