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Toni Talks about PT Today

Graduation

Published March 3, 2010 2:57 PM by Toni Patt
This weekend is graduation.  I wish I could say I was excited.  Instead of looking forward to a professional achievement, I'm dwelling on the inconvenience of having to travel to Arizona for the ceremony.  If there was any way I could bypass the event, I would.  However, attendance is mandatory to receive the degree so I'm going.

It isn't that I don't consider this an achievement.  I do.  I just don't feel like I did anything to accomplish it.  For the most part, the classes were relatively basic.  The emphasis was on thinking rather than memorizing.  Instead of spitting back answers, I had to explain what I thought.  Only one class stressed me out, Pediatrics. That was because I've only worked with adult patients. The world of children was completely foreign to me and had a steep learning curve.

I feel this way because there is nothing associated with this achievement.  When I graduated from PT school I earned the right to practice as a therapist.  My whole life changed.   I had just survived four long years of college complete with lack of income, final exams and clinical rotations.  When it was over I felt like I had done something.

This time the only thing that changes is I get to write more letters after my name. I don't even get that since we use electronic documentation.  My automated signature will have more letters after my name.   I don't suddenly get more privileges.  I won't get a raise.  Nothing about my practice will be any different.  The only difference I can identify is that I have more free time.  I'm already planning my next degree, so that won't last.

Another cause might be that I did all the course work online.  I didn't go to class.  I didn't interact with classmates.  I logged on when I wanted to.  I did my assignments independently and submitted them by the due date.  It didn't feel like school.  I've had continuing education courses that felt more like school.  My knowledge base has significantly increased so I know I learned something.

I wonder if any of my classmates feel the same way.  Based on the discussion board, everyone else seems excited.  We have a reception the night before graduation so I'll have a chance to ask some of them. According to the APTA this is a big deal.  I'm a doctor of physical therapy and capable of providing service in a direct access environment. Someday I may even get the opportunity to do so. 

posted by Toni Patt
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3 comments

I was shocked when I realized that you are the classmate that I sat with during our graduation ceremony last Saturday.  I find your blog interesting and feels the same way about some of the things you mentioned such as gaining an achievement without really earning any new privileges. I do agree that for the most part the only thing I have concretely gained at this point is the three letters at the end of my name. However, I do feel a sense of pride in knowing that I know more know than when I started in the program.  The class format may seem basic and more intuitive than your normal classroom format but that is actually what I liked about it.  I have come from an undergraduate  curriculum where the emphasis is on memorization and textbook based learning and truthfully that was not as meaningful to me.  I have since forgotten most of the things I memorized before except for those things I commonly use in practice.

  I too will not be gaining any salary increase with this achievement however I have more confidence collaborating with physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and patients as my practice is better as a whole because of the knowledge I have gained the past one and a half years.  The program we went through was not difficult and it maybe safe to safe that the most challenging part about it is finding the time to do all the discussions, assignments, open book quizzes and terminal project.  But I have no regrets whatsoever and I can even say that I truly enjoyed the program from beginning to end. It even inspired me to pursue a clinical expertise to further improve my ability to provide high quality patient care. I do hope that you too will find the deeper meaning of your achievement like I did. Good luck.

Mylah

Mylah Herget, Physical Therapy - Supervisor, SJRMC March 9, 2010 10:23 PM
Clifton NJ

I'm of the opinion that once you've done the work, you may as well enjoy the celebration. Post grad degrees can be anticlimactic but I don't think there is anything wrong with marking the culmination with a nice event. It might help drive some gravity to it as well.

-Brad (@SPOTonChicago)

Brad Hogenmiller March 3, 2010 10:07 PM

Toni, The reasons that you state you don't feel a sense of accomplishment are many of the ones that I use to argue against the DPT.

Putting that aside, You've done the work. If you apply the new knowledge on a regular basis,  you will be a better practitioner. You've grown in many ways. Perhaps not the ones you had hoped for, but you have grown and that in and of itself is cause for celebration.

Congratulations to you! You are now an educated and experienced voice when it comes to the DPT. The worst thing that could happen is that you don't speak up about it. It matters to have those who have gone through the process speak out on the benefits and rewards and / or the drawbacks and disappointments. Only in this way can our leadership know what the end results are.

Keep going! Cheers, Dean

Dean Metz March 3, 2010 6:28 PM

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