Specializing in Pediatric PT: My Path to Professional Excellence

PT Emily Quinn works with a pediatric patient

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My PT journey may seem a bit sporadic to the onlooking eye. I have always been drawn to pediatrics, in part from my former experiences as a gymnastics coach and as a camp counselor, but also due to my love for making changes early in life. Through various settings — hospital-based (outpatient, inpatient rehab, and acute care), school-based, private practice outpatient and home health — all my work as a physical therapist has been centered around pediatric care.

After these professional adventures, I felt stagnant and wanted to gain more formal mentorship. So, I pursued a pediatric physical therapy residency at OHSU Child Development and Rehabilitation Center from August 2022 to August 2023. This experience was a privilege and ultimately helped me recognize the gap in community resources for the pediatric population.

As I began exploring options for the next step in my professional career after residency, I considered Therapeutic Associates South Hillsboro Physical Therapy, where I knew clinic director Bailey Ouellette worked with pediatric patients. 

After engaging in collaborative conversations with Bailey over the next few months, I decided her clinic was the perfect fit for me and would offer an opportunity to grow something bigger for the Hillsboro community.

The community feel of the clinic, the welcoming environment, and the team-based approach contributed to that feeling of it being a perfect fit. I also appreciated Therapeutic Associates’ emphasis on personal and professional growth and the company’s visionary, collaborative approach to that growth. 

South Hillsboro Physical Therapy

Right from the start, Bailey connected me with people in leadership positions, including Amy Temes Clifton from the education department, to help carve an individualized path for me within the company. She also prioritized my out-of-office volunteer work with APTA Pediatrics, allowing me to attend all meetings for the DEI committee.

While building my career at Therapeutic Associates, advancing my expertise and elevating my experience, I decided to pursue sitting for the board-certified pediatric specialist exam. I wanted to become a better clinician, for myself, my patients, and my community while focusing on my passion for pediatrics.  

CEO Todd Gifford of Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy leads a talk at the company PT Cohort meeting.

As my clinic director, Bailey has continuously supported me throughout my journey. She has helped me see the many different pathways and resources Therapeutic Associates PT has in place for mentoring and for forming my path in the future. One way she has done this is by emphasizing the value of Therapeutic Associates’ PT Cohort, an opportunity where clinicians new to the company get together once a quarter for their first two years to learn about all the nuances of the company and to connect with those in leadership roles. Additionally, Bailey has collaborated with me on a plan for professional growth, knowing that I was stepping into this role with a different level of experience than a new grad. This has helped me prioritize my passions for clinical work and future mentoring work, both as a mentor and as someone receiving mentorship as I grow in pediatric pelvic health.

To me, specialization matters, because the study process and full journey from conception to end goal, helps me grow personally and professionally. The study process teaches you resiliency, and you grow professionally as a clinician while learning the best evidence-based practices for clinical care. Specialization, especially in something less common within the company, opens more doors to growing this area in the future. Furthermore, being a specialized community-based therapist empowers me to provide a resource to the community, offering patients better outcomes because the person treating them has put in the work to be at the top of their game.

pediatric physical therapist works with a young patient utilizing an obstacle course for fun

Since beginning at Therapeutic Associates, I have learned that many people in leadership roles have carved their unique, individual paths. This openness to innovation and support of personal growth allowed me to leverage my previous clinical experience and personal clinical passions to branch out beyond the previously established specialization pathways. 

By pursuing a different journey within the company, I am helping to open doors for other clinicians to explore various areas of specialization, including pediatrics. 

Our goal is to create a mentorship pathway for those interested in specializing, broadening the horizons for the company, and enabling Therapeutic Associates to truly be a place of PT for all.

Winding down residency was challenging. Figuring out the best path for my personal and professional growth, while utilizing the soft skills learned during residency, was not easy. However, thinking outside the box led me to find the perfect fit for my next chapter. The welcoming community atmosphere at Therapeutic Associates PT and the company’s emphasis on growth, including support for pursuing personal passions, made me realize this was the place I needed and wanted to be. Ultimately, the focus on collaboration and vision aligned with my values and goals, ensuring I would be supported in the next steps on my career pathway.

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