Millennial Mindset Changing Health Care
As a Millennial, sometimes I joke that I was born in the wrong decade because of my affinity for Marvin Gaye and Frankie Beverly band, Maze. As with generations before mine, the younger generations tend to get a bad rap: Critics contend that Millennials are entitled, too fast-paced, transient, and lazy, and they scoff at our participation trophies.
But Millennials are undoubtedly key contributors in the workforce, across all disciplines and fields. Studies have shown that we are helpers, doers, activists, tech-literate, collaborative, and left-brain dominant. We give back to the community just as older generations have done, but rather than donating to institutions we are more likely to support causes we are passionate about. According to the Millennial Impact Project, health care is among the top 5 issues we care about, along with civil rights, climate change, education, employment, and immigration.
With all of this collective energy and interest igniting our generation, Millennials have a unique opportunity to impact health care, specifically the physical therapy profession, in a meaningful way. And the beautiful part is that you don't have to be a Millennial to adopt this mindset!
This is an excerpt from an APTA #PTTransforms blog post entitled, "Yes, We Can: How a Millennial Mindset Can Help PTs Improve the Health of Society." Read the full essay here.
Valerie Rucker, PT, DPT, currently works within an outpatient department in Washington, DC, and is a member of the DC Physical Therapy Association.
A Secret to Overcoming Stress: Volunteer
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
My first year of physical therapy school was rough. I was stressed, overwhelmed, and worried over everything.
Did I study enough today? Am I going to get a good grade on my exam? How am I stacking up against the rest of my class? These thoughts constantly bombarded my brain.
I quickly realized that my free time outside of school was limited. Between classes, labs, group projects, meetings, and studying, there's little time to even sleep, eat, and take time for yourself, much less add any extracurricular activities.
As the year went on my stress and endless thoughts piled on. I knew that I had to do something.
Prior to my physical therapy school life, I always enjoyed volunteering. And while volunteering is so rewarding and fulfilling, my student-self thought, "But where's the time?" a question that quickly became "How can I make time to help others?"
Murphy Deming PT/OT/PA students volunteering at a local food pantry.
I found joy in volunteering by being part of something bigger than myself.
Once I was able to find an hour here and there to giving back in numerous ways, I soon remembered how relaxing and uplifting volunteering was.
What I didn't realize, though, was that volunteering would become my single greatest stress-reliever during my time in school, thus far.
My passion, similar to others, is helping other people—something that led me to a career in physical therapy—and also is a driver for my time serving my community. I have found the joy that I can bring to others by volunteering my time surpasses any stress level, negative feelings, or bad day.
One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time. During one of my busiest semesters, I took an hour out of my day, 1 day a week, to serve dinner at the local mission. That 1 hour a day was the highlight of my week. It allowed me to get outside of my school bubble, to help others, and remind me of why I chose physical therapy as a profession.
PT/OT students created "Family Fun Run & Games" annual event to combat the obesity epidemic in Augusta County, Virginia.
I knew that I had to get my classmates involved. There are 70 students combined in the PT/OT class of 2019. If everyone volunteered 10 hours a year for 3 years—the equivalent to 1 event a semester—we would hit our goal of 2,019 service hours.
Not only that, but we challenged the next year's class, the class of 2020, to hit 2,020 service hours by the time they graduate.
To date, the class of 2019 has 1,603 hours with 1 year to go!
PT/OT students created "Fall Risk Prevention Screening" in partnership with Augusta Health Hospital in Fishersville, Virginia.
Once a week, once a month, anything will help.
My advice to you, the stressed-out student, is to call a local food pantry, the local YMCA, Special Olympics, a 5K race, a pet shelter, or a nursing home to volunteer for a day, once a week, or once a month. Find an organization and a cause that you feel passionately about and that will benefit from your time. If you need ideas, just ask!
My hope is that others become inspired to volunteer as well. Set up an event for your classmates—you'll find volunteering with friends fun and rewarding.
After you volunteer, you forget that you were ever stressed, overwhelmed, or fretted about a test.
Dedicate your time to a good cause and get your mind off that test you took 3 weeks ago.
Trust me, when you volunteer you are overcome with humility, compassion, and the desire to serve others, which is why we joined this profession in the first place, isn't it?
If you need help finding partnerships or organizations to volunteer, contact APTA's Community Service Committee.
Kat Ziemke, SPT, is a student at Mary Baldwin University and serves on APTA's Student Assembly Community Service Project Committee. You can connect with Kat on Twitter at: @KatZiemkeSPT.
The Injury That Changed My Trajectory
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
A shock of excruciating pain radiated from my knee to my upper thigh. My basketball teammates called for help.
When the school nurse arrived, she confirmed my fears, "You tore your ACL."
I remember crying harder than I had ever cried before.
As captain of my high school basketball team, my coach and I led the team to 2 regional championships and expected to compete in a third one. For months, I challenged myself and teammates to run faster, lift heavier, and shoot more accurately, but after my injury, the coach placed me on the sidelines and I gave up my position as team captain.
Blaming fate for prematurely ending my up-and-coming basketball career, I was blinded by my own suffering. Absorbed in self-pity, I struggled with adapting to this new lifestyle, one that included regular visits to see my physical therapist.
I remember arriving at the physical therapy clinic and quickly noting that people there, despite the various injuries and conditions, could very much relate to my physical and emotional pain.
From patients with limbs amputated to patients with stroke, everyone had disabilities that prevented them from enjoying the tasks they loved; for me, it was basketball, but to others, it was singing or swimming.
Feeling a sense of empathy and camaraderie, we cheered each other on with encouragement and optimism—very much like my days playing basketball. As we each reached our incremental goals and conquered our pain through a team effort, I recognized the shallowness of my self-centered worries and discovered the gratification in helping others surpass life's obstacles. Motivated by a newfound interest in service, I decided to apply the values acquired on the basketball court to a clinical and nonprofit setting.
After regaining the ability to walk, I coordinated a service trip, partnering with Gawad Kalinga, an organization in the Philippines that builds homes for the poor.
During a stay in the Philippines, I met Nina, the 11-year-old daughter of my host family. One night, Nina and I left the house for a stroll, but our lighthearted exchanges turned into a serious conversation about the hardships her family had endured. She talked about her alcoholic father and sickly mother, but not once did she resent her situation or curse her unwelcomed fate. Instead, Nina's conviction to end domestic violence and restore her broken family fortified my desire to support the underserved community.
Seeing that Nina's strength and courage conquered even the most trying obstacles, I recognized her pain as a universal condition and wanted to equip others with a strong will to overcome their difficulties. I realized that inspiring stories are constantly around me. No matter how different, how educated or uneducated, how poor or rich others are, they have something valuable to teach me, just as I have something to share with them. It is only a matter of if I look for it and through what mind-set I perceive it.
After returning to Taiwan, I continued to explore a curiosity for service by applying my rehabilitation and community service experiences to the basketball court. Recognizing the need for a therapist on the team, I helped my teammates tape limbs and retrieve ice packs, and demonstrated a warm-up routine to help avoid potential injuries, shown to me by my physical therapist.
As my teammates came to rely on my assistance, I realized how important knowledge of physical therapy benefitted them. While my basketball career ended abruptly, my passion for physical therapy was just beginning.
After entering college at Northwestern University, I expanded my exposure to physical therapy by volunteering as a rehabilitation aide at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.
Recalling my experiences as a patient and a volunteer at Gawad Kalinga, I understood that patients often found therapy unanticipated and emotionally tolling.
By empathizing with the patients and encouraging them through genuine conversations, I addressed their emotional and physical needs. After volunteering in the hospital, I realized that a career in physical therapy and, specifically, neurorehabilitation would not only encompass my love for movement, but also serve as a channel to empower others with motivation and encouragement.
Jonathan Tsay, PT, DPT, is a recent graduate of Northwestern University. You can connect with Jonathan on Twitter at: @tsay_jonathan.
How Identifying Culture Can Help You Find Your First Job
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
As a student, I was very involved in APTA's Student Assembly, and I ran for APTA's Student Assembly Board of Directors. I served on multiple committees and a national task force, participated in state and federal advocacy, and attended as many conferences as possible.
My mission was to improve access to physical therapist services through patient care, advocacy, education, and research. This was the passion that fueled my successes as a clinician and student.
When physical therapy school came to an end and it was time to find a job, I was worried that my employer would force me to drop my professional activities to focus only on patient care. I brought this concern to a few of my mentors.
Steve Anderson, executive coach and former CEO of Therapeutic Associates, gave me some good advice. He said, "Your first job is important because it will set the trajectory of your career. Choose wisely."
I took this advice seriously and began looking for an organization that valued the same things I did—APTA involvement, constant learning, mentorship, and evidenced-based practice.
I interviewed with many organizations that just didn't feel right to me. Eventually, my search led to Kevin Hulsey, CEO of RehabAuthority. He agreed to meet with me at APTA's Combined Sections Meeting and we chatted about our visions for the profession. He asked about my dreams, philosophy, and endeavors. I inquired about RehabAuthority and its culture and expectations. After our 2-hour chat, I knew that this was the place where I wanted to work.
My time at RehabAuthority, discussions with leaders in health care, and personal research has taught me that organizational culture influences success.
Based on these lessons, I believe there are 3 questions new graduates must answer when deciding if a company is a good fit: (1) Do the organization's purpose, mission, vision, and core values align with who you are and what you want to accomplish? (2) How do you define and characterize the clinic's culture, and is it a culture in which you want to participate? (3) How does the company demonstrate that it values its employees?
When looking for a job, it is essential for new graduates to examine and understand the culture of an organization in which they are interested in working.
Galen Danielson, COO of RehabAuthority, defines culture as "the things we do around here to succeed and what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior."
Culture encompasses many behaviors within an organization including treatment of patients, communication between staff and customers, values, thoughts, relationship with the community, and roles each employee plays within the company. These characteristics all define how a company thinks and feels.
Here are some tips to help you determine compatibility with an organization's culture:
Visit the company's website. A company website can reveal a lot about them. Is its language patient-centered? Is there a page dedicated to current or prospective employees? What variety of services or opportunities exist within the organization? Examining the answers to questions like these can help you identify whether this is a job opportunity that you want to pursue. Companies that heavily value employee happiness and success prominently display this. Usually, they will encourage team members to be involved in professional development and empower staff to pursue their passions.
Assess how an organization's mission, vision statement, core values, and purpose fit with you as a professional. The foundation of an organization is built on these 4 ideas, which should be regularly communicated and discussed among staff. A strong organization will use these principles to select the right people to maintain a specific culture. These principles can be defined as:
- Mission: What the organization does
- Vision statement: Where the organization is going, and how its leaders will know when it will get there
- Core values: Who the company is
- Purpose: Why the company exists
The specificity of these ideals may vary. Fitting them to an individual requires an intrinsic understanding of personal and professional goals, aspirations, philosophy, and beliefs.
For example, the core values of RehabAuthority include having fun, valuing the profession, embracing learning, helping people, feeling good about the work they do, and being pleased, but never satisfied. When looking for my first job after graduation, I was very attracted to the specificity of these values. They were easy to understand, and most importantly, described me and what I thought was important in becoming a leader in the profession.
Spend time observing in the clinic and getting to know staff and leadership. Culture can be felt, identified, and described. A common theme with successful businesses is a successful culture, which is set by management, reinforced by employees, and experienced by patients. A good way to understand an organization's culture is to experience it for yourself. Spend time observing how employees interact, how physical therapists treat patients, how satisfied patients are with their care, and how happy staff are in their jobs. How is the clinic managed? Do the employees trust the organization's leadership team? These are questions that can help you understand the clinic culture and decide if you are compatible with the organization.
My employment at RehabAuthority has now spanned 3 years. They have supported me in attending conferences, advocating at all levels of government, and participating in committees.
When looking for your first job, be wise. Understand the culture of the work environment and make sure that it fits your needs, wants, and goals. Your employer should empower you to participate in the activities that feed your passion. In return, this empowerment will likely improve your productivity, your job satisfaction, and the experience you provide for your patients.
Stephanie Weyrauch, PT, DPT, MSCI, graduated from Washington University in St Louis and is a physical therapist at RehabAuthority in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. She has served on numerous local, regional, and national committees and task forces. She also manages social media accounts for APTA's Academy of Physical Therapy Education and PT Day of Service. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @TheSteph21.
Stereotype Threat: How Fear Led Me to Passion
Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Some might say they see a visual representation of their true selves. For me, it depends on the day. Sometimes I see an educated man, other times I simply see a stereotype.
My true fear—the one thing that has paralyzed me for years—is that no matter what I see in the mirror, no matter what I do, how I dress, how I talk, or how I act, I assume that everyone else sees the stereotypes. I'm sure that many of you can relate to this.
You can define it as stereotype threat: A situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group.
Allow me a moment to share my story, my personal struggles, and my triumph as an educated black man trying to find his way in academia.
As you read, consider 2 things: What are the stereotypes about you, and what stereotypes do you have about others?
When I was a kid, I never imagined that I could be a doctor. It was never even a consideration of chance.
By the time I was in middle school I was set on going to West Point, serving in the Marines for some time, as many of the men in my family had done before me, and then maybe I would dye my hair pink, and give law school a shot.
In high school, I was surrounded by gang members, jocks, and people who I had no business emulating. I didn't belong, but I forced it. I found myself gravitating toward them and their behaviors. I had no ambitions of going to college and I was content with doing as the hood did, so to speak. I just wanted to fit in.
It was only by grace and chance that I ended up at the University of Cincinnati (UC). My best friend at the time was going to apply there and urged me to do so as well, so I did, expecting rejection.
After a turbulent freshman year, I went home for the summer, and then something unimaginable happened. A friend lost his life, caught in the crossfire while standing outside a bar.
I now stood at a crossroads.
Do I retaliate as my friends intended to do or walk away? You don't say no to something like that and expect to be invited over to dinner the next day. At that point you were all in or all out.
Personally, I always had 1 foot in and 1 foot out of the circle. I was the good one in the group, the voice of reason, the mediator, the one who was raised by a decent man. There was no reasoning this time. I had to walk away, I couldn't perpetuate foolishness; it's not within me, nor has it ever been. This was the first step of many that led me to where I am today. It also sent me spiraling further into my identity crisis. As I returned to Cincinnati for my sophomore year, an idea sprouted:
I'm too "black" to befriend the white students and too "white" to hang with the black kids. Essentially, I was stuck trying to figure out who to become.
Despite the background noise, my academics improved and I made it through school with a bachelor's degree in psychology, and got a job as a researcher coordinator at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC).
Soon after, I found myself working as a rehab tech in an outpatient sports orthopedic clinic. New place, new role, same identity crisis. I just couldn't get over it. I felt like I was being judged by everyone; like I needed a title in order to be seen through a different mirror. If you would have asked me, I was the physical therapist janitor, the gopher, the lesser.
How do I escape this feeling?
After about 4 months, something amazing happened at CCHMC. At the time I didn't really understand what it was. Tucked between the periods of emotional struggle while in the clinic were the times when I felt alive. I wasn't doubting my identity or my future, instead I was seeing a glimpse of the path ahead of me.
I was beside myself as I watched people enter the clinic mentally broken, only to walk out with tears in their eyes, discharge shirts on their backs, and massive smiles across their faces. This alone sparked my desire to apply to physical therapy school.
I reenrolled full time at UC and began taking prerequisites while still working full time as a tech. I limped through the GRE, admittedly because I didn't study, and finally, after a year and a half of preparation, I was ready to take the plunge.
Treating community members during a recent service trip to Peru with my classmates.
The odds felt stacked
Much like undergrad, I applied to just 1 physical therapy school, Slippery Rock University. This maneuver was by no means arrogant. I simply didn't have all of the prerequisite requirements to apply (just about) anywhere else. As soon as I pressed submit, I became consumed by a thought that began to deteriorate my perception of self—again.
There is no way this school is going to accept some black kid from Columbus, Ohio, with a degree in psychology.
After I was accepted, a new tape with all new thoughts started playing in my mind.
This acceptance is just proof that affirmative action exists. I guess they needed their token minority, but I'll take it.
As I prepared to make the move to this small town in Pennsylvania, I became paralyzed by the fact that I would likely be the only black kid in the room. As far as I knew, I would be the only black kid in the entire town.
I expected to walk in the room and have every eye lock in on me. I was ready to be judged, to be considered the dumbest kid there. "Why did they accept him?" I expected to feel alone. It was then that I chose to believe 1 thing:
No matter what, I will work 10 times harder than everyone around me. This is the only way I can keep at their heels. This is the only way to prove them wrong.
New school in a small town
I finally had my shot to change what I saw in the mirror, to change what other people saw in me. I blame this mentality for my personal struggles in physical therapy school. It was never academic.
Physical therapy school wasn't easy, of course, but I excelled. The hardest part of school, for me, was trying once again to fit in.
I kept to myself for the most part, strayed away from groups and did my own thing. I leaned into involvement early, I was elected class president, volunteered at APTA's House of Delegates in 2016, participated in Shoes4Kids, and ran for the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors that same year.
I just felt like I had something to prove. I've always felt that way. I would be lying to you if I said I didn't still feel that way, but a mentor and friend introduced me to something powerful:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Speaking at APTA's National Student Conclave 2017
Fast-forward to today
I still wake up early every day. I overdress for every occasion. I stress about my perception. I speak differently, depending on whom I'm talking to. I hide what's on my mind. And I laugh when I'm uncomfortable.
I do everything in my power to avoid the stereotypes by which I am threatened, I am hyperaware of my race, and quick to assume what others think.
The difference today is that I know how to live with it. I've learned to silence the noise. Yeah, between those mountains of happiness and contention are slivers of fear and stereotype threat, but I'm just as alive as I was when I was at CCHMC. I said something amazing happened that day, back in 2014 while I was cleaning tables and scheduling appointments—I found out who I was supposed to be. When I'm with the #PTFam at APTA conferences like CSM, NEXT, and NSC, I feel at home just being myself.
I've never told anyone any of this. I've just smiled and laughed my way through my education.
No one wants to hear it, they don't believe this kind of thing exists. I'm just being sensitive.
So why tell my story now?
I've had many great mentors and friends who have helped me overcome without even knowing it. It was the confidence they placed in me that gave me the will to keep pushing. I want to encourage others to do the same, to overcome, to rise up and embrace who you are and your place within this profession and your community.
This article is for everyone: minority or majority, black or white, male or female, PT, PTA, or student. We all face an identity crisis at some point in our lives, and we all have stereotypes that we either embrace or reject. We will all come to a crossroads at which there is no road map. A point when a small piece of the road reveals itself to us, but in every direction the distant terrain is concealed by the horizon. Despite that, be encouraged knowing that even though today may seem impossible, it bears fruit to strengthen you for what's to come.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." –Pablo Picasso
What's that greater purpose for you? What brought you where you are today? Are you facing something that you find difficult to overcome?
We've all struggled, had some bruises, been at a point in life where we've felt that we had nowhere to go, and just wished for someone to help us through. I want to be that light for my patients. I want to be that encouragement for my peers and colleagues. I want to be that for this profession. That's what drives me, and it is much more powerful than the stereotype threat that served as a barrier for so many years.
Ron Peacock Jr, SPT, is a student at Slippery Rock University, and currently serves as the nominating committee chair on the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors. You can connect with Ron on Twitter at: @RJPeacockDPT.
When Clinical Expectations Meet Reality
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
Clinical internships! Yay? Eek?
This journey is the necessary rite of passage for physical therapy students embarking on the real world.
Are these going to be the times of your life in the place of your dreams? Will reality align with your expectations? I could give you the good ol' physical therapy school answer of "it depends," but the truth of the matter is that the choice is yours with how you interpret your situation.
Fortunately, APTA has great resources to help you as a young, developing clinician. We learned the textbook knowledge. Now it's time to face reality. During my clinicals I learned lessons that changed me personally and professionally, and I had a wide variety of experiences.
Before I share more about my own journey, here is some advice—some of which I had to learn the hard way:
- Connect with others, but don't compare apples with oranges.
- Be sure to care for yourself because patients cannot succeed if you are not at your best.
Allow faculty to support you on your track toward graduation, especially during the dire, sticky situations when you are unsure.
- Allow your classmates and friends to be your emotional strongholds, as you endure tough situations while dealing with the stress of online coursework, assignments, planning in-services, and studying for the National Physical Therapy Examination.
- Allow yourself to be curious and ask questions when you're even slightly unsure, or you simply don't know the answer.
- As students, we may know a wealth of textbook knowledge and perhaps we reached out to learn more, but learning never stops, especially when we're in the clinic. We should seek mentorship and develop the professional relationship that we have with our clinical instructors.
Now, for my story.
My 3 clinical internships included outpatient orthopedics at a private practice in an urban area, pediatric outpatient in a rural area, and acute care at a teaching-based hospital in a small town.
Although I felt anxious and nervous at first, I eventually developed successful habits to get better with documentation, communication with patients, families, caregivers, and colleagues, and I worked hard to successfully implement what I learned in school.
It didn't take me long to realize the impact that we have as a profession is so much bigger than I had anticipated. In simply doing our jobs, we are affecting lives on a daily basis. We have valuable knowledge, skills, and tools that empower people to live their best lives possible.
The most insightful, and may I say, comedic parts of my experiences, were when I made mistakes, something inevitable for all physical therapy students during their rotations. A great example was when I left a gait belt in a patient's room. Certainly a rookie mistake to which I had to take the "walk of shame" to retrieve it. Although I will admit, despite experiencing the predictable anxiety every student feels throughout their clinicals, I did not do anything horrendous and fail, and trust me, neither will you.
I had the privilege of working with a truly diverse patient population from infants and kids to professional athletes and older adults. I was lucky enough to participate in great clinical experiences that were highly stressful at times, with a wide range of conditions and issues. Yet these experiences proved highly rewarding by the gratefulness of patients who admired how I embraced the one-on-one attention listening to them, and with the intent of helping any way that I could.
However you look at it when we go out on our clinical rotations, we are still students.
We are immersing ourselves, we are constantly learning, and we are getting the experiences that a textbook or lecture can't really do justice. It's important to remember that we've got the knowledge, skills, and mentors behind us, so despite those inevitable mistakes that we'll make, they're part of the journey.
You have the opportunity to define yourself and grow into the ideal clinician for your patients. Most of all, you have #PTFam and APTA to support you! So I'm asking—no, I'm telling you—clinicals might be challenging, but enjoy the journey.
Matthew Villegas, SPT, attends Touro University in Nevada. You can connect with Matthew on Twitter at: @dpt_matthew_v.
Orlando, The City I Call Home
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
As a native Texan, I never imagined myself falling in love with another state, but somehow, Orlando, Florida, got a hold of my heart and turned me into a full-blown Floridian. Why? Let me give you a behind-the-scenes look at my amazing city.
I share my city with Mickey.
Orlando is home to some of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, and there's no doubt that the locals love them just as much as the tourists.
Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, Sea World Orlando—you name it, we've got it!
You can hang out with Mickey in Magic Kingdom or walk down Diagon Alley with a Butterbeer at Universal Studios. Looking for a more unique experience? Check out this list of lesser-known experiences that are "Uniquely Orlando."
There's fun and adventure around every corner.
One of my personal favorites is IFLY Indoor Skydiving. I got to take flight in their vertical wind tunnel and by the end of my session, I was flying solo!
The Orlando Eye is another great adventure. At 400 feet, it's the world's fifth largest Ferris wheel, and it's located smack dab in the middle of Orlando's biggest attractions.
Florida knows how to beat the heat.
I'm going to be honest, the summertime heat combined with Florida's humidity makes for some pretty sweaty days.
Thankfully, the water parks, beaches, and ICEBAR make up for that.
Our list of water parks is seemingly endless and many of them are located inside our theme parks. Fun fact: Volcano Bay at Universal boasts 2 of the world's tallest water slides.
Orlando is only about an hour away from a few of Florida's most famous beaches including Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, and New Smyrna Beach.
The ICEBAR is the largest permanent ice bar in the world and is quite literally the coolest bar in Orlando. I got to sip cocktails out of a custom carved ice glass and snuggle penguins in a fur coat. Need I say more?
Why all this talk about how great Orlando is?
Word has it there will be about 2,000 physical therapy professionals and students visiting here June 27-30 for APTA's NEXT Conference and Exposition.
NEXT conference is admittedly one of my favorite APTA conferences. Much like the fun and laid-back spirit of Orlando, NEXT is known for being an intimate gathering, ranging from some of the most accomplished in our profession to some of the newest, up-and-coming professionals.
If you attend NEXT, you'll get to sit in on the premier Mary McMillan Lecture, witness the rowdy Oxford Debate, and you'll get to connect with your #PTFam coming together from all over the country.
From my experience, I've met some of my closest friends at our profession's conferences and the experiences are always unforgettable. So this year I'm honored and humbled to introduce my profession and my #PTFam to the city I call home.
Registration for #APTANEXT is still open – register today to join us in Orlando, Florida!
Erica Parazo, SPT, is a student at the University of Central Florida. You can connect with Erica on Twitter at @parazoPT.