Mentorship. Professionalism. Teamwork. Success.
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
Like some physical therapist assistants (PTAs), I entered the profession with a desire to eventually become a physical therapist (PT).
After years of struggling to find the right career path, I ended up in a PTA program with a second chance that I did not even realize I needed.
Shortly after classes began, I had a new outlook on my career and for future success. My passion for the profession was given a jolt and was about to lead me to some great opportunities in my early career.
Often, PTAs are asked if or when they are going back to school to become a PT; like it is assumed that that’s your ultimate career goal. And don’t get me wrong, that was exactly the way I viewed it when I applied to physical therapy school, too. However, I quickly saw a need in our profession. I felt like we could do a better job as a profession to collaborate and include PTAs, but that also meant more PTAs had to be involved.
There weren’t enough PTAs working to advance the profession and, more specifically, PTAs within the profession. It was that realization that placed me on the fast-track to APTA service and involvement, and a career in education. I saw a role in academia as an opportunity to positively impact PTA students and develop their passion for the profession.
Now that I am a few years removed from being a student, I can reflect on what I think is important for the future of our profession, both PT and PTA students, to understand.
One of the most important pieces to PT and PTA development is mentorship.
I believe that mentorship is required for the effective functioning of the PT–PTA team. Professionalism standards for both PTs and PTAs include a commitment to collaboration and lifelong learning to provide optimal patient care. This is difficult without some form of mentorship. To the PT students, understand the impact you can have on the growth of PTAs. Just as you will seek a PT mentor to glean as much knowledge as possible in your early career, so too will new PTA graduates.
And guess what, there might even be something to learn from PTAs in the clinic. Keep an open mind to the many possibilities to learn.
To PTA students, do not settle into complacency. Push yourself and find the mentorship relationship that will challenge you to be a better PTA each day you show up to work. Never stop learning. Remember, you too have an impact on patient care and the development of other PTs and PTAs.
Mentorship does not end in clinical education programs; however, the culture of mentorship and collaboration between the PT and PTA should begin while students.
We have the ability to move our profession forward in the best way possible if we continue to maintain the understanding that we are #BetterTogether. We need to continue to work together to provide access to evidence-based care that meets the evolving needs of society.
Seek mentorship, provide mentorship, grow, develop, and give back.
Join us for the August #XchangeSA chat with Jimmy happening on Facebook Live, August 19 at 7:00 PM ET.
Jimmy Pacini, PTA, BSPTA, is currently a PTA Caucus delegate.