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Life of a PTA

Diversify My Options

Published March 14, 2014 3:25 PM by Allison Young

I'm coming up on my 3-year anniversary with the skilled nursing facility where I currently work. I remember vividly the phone call from my rehab director informing me that I was hired on as a PTA. It was an incredible high -- having just graduated from the PTA program not but two weeks before. Honestly, it felt like I'd won the lottery, having secured a position in a SNF, my therapy setting of choice and with a decent starting wage to match.

My first few years were brutal at times but amazingly informative. The lead physical therapists who I worked with utilized every opportunity to teach me and took me to task daily on the functionality and quality of therapy I was offering our patients. Through these rigorous mentoring years (at times I felt like I was back in a clinical affiliation), I grew into the therapist I am today.

With my mentors having left the SNF and moved on with their careers, I find myself with the unfamiliar feeling of job restlessness. Up until a few months ago, I felt comforted by the fact that my day (albeit filled with stresses) would run predictably into the next. My awesome group of colleagues would be there for support and help with a patient at a moment's notice, and my yearly paid vacation days smoothed out the high census months.

Then one day I just felt different about my future. Suddenly, I had a myriad of reasons why "change" sounded like a viable option. Having written more than a few of these blogs describing my growing unease, I finally took one reader's advice and decided to "diversify my options." To be completely honest, I'm not quite sure what that meant -- so I translated it into interviewing for other PTA positions.

The interview process, when one is not depending on the position presented, can be a fantastic learning experience. In the few interviews I've been on recently, absent is the nervous "pit-in-my-stomach" feeling. This has allowed for a more open conversation with rehab managers as to whether their facility or clinic can benefit from my experience and how I might grow as a therapist with them. Whether I accept a different position in a new facility or setting has yet to be determined. But I definitely feel more at ease as I'm setting my own course for the future and on my terms. Now, if only we could procure CEU units for the interview process...

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