Leadership: Start Developing this Valuable Skill and Passion Early in Your Career
Check out the Powerful Messages from these Young PT Student Leaders
Hey PT Students and PT leaders . . .
Check out what these PT students have to say as emerging leaders in our great profession. They are taking a VERY PROACTIVE approach to becoming involved, building relationships, making a difference, and becoming our NEXT GENERATION of LEADERS!
Weyrauch . . . Duhamel . . . Stoltman . . . Kealy . . .
Bryant. . . Burton . . . Tobias . . . Hofschulte
Leadership. It’s not just for CEOs and Presidents. Not just for Coaches and Teachers.
Leadership is for team members at all levels of a PT practice.
Students – you can give YOUR career a REAL Jump Start by being involved, contributing, networking, and building professional relationships.
Here is some great input and advice from several REAL PT Student LEADERS.
PT school can be overwhelming. Trying to pass exams. Staying on top of assignments and readings. Keeping grades up so that DPT becomes a reality. It’s easy for us as students to get caught up in our little world of studying. However, when we get caught up in this world, we tend to forget about the big picture: Our profession has yet to reach its full potential.
As I have been interviewing for jobs, I have found that prospective employers are especially attracted to 2 assets that make me stand out among my peers. These assets are passion and involvement. “You are way ahead of your me when I was a student.” Sayings similar to this one keep getting repeated.
There are 3 main reasons you should consider becoming a student leader in our profession. First, we are the FUTURE of our profession. If not you, then who? Our ability to advocate, diagnose, treat, prevent,
and inspire will determine the path and credibility of physical therapy. This is on us! I’m an idealist so I talk to a lot of people much smarter than me in order get a more realistic perspective about the future. This allows me to put a realistic spin on my vision of the future. Second, PTs LOVE mentoring and as a student leader you STAND OUT. They are genuinely excited to hear our ideas and provide us with the resources we need to succeed. Why reinvent the wheel? Whether you want to start your own practice, learn a new skill, or become a better advocate, there’s a PT mentor out there waiting for you to just ask. My professional involvement has helped me build a network of mentors who have been willing to invest time in developing my skills as a PT, entrepreneur, and leader. Third, you get to be a part of something BIGGER. You are not just going to school to get a degree. You are going to school to dedicate your life to improving consumer health. We get to be a part of that!
Here are my tips on beginning your journey:
1) Join Twitter and become involved in professional conversations. Use the hash tags – #bizPT, #solvePT, #dptstudent, #PTadvocacy, #PTLeadership.
2) Contact the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors for opportunities to become involved (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3) Start a Movement at Your School or talk to your state/district APTA chapter for ways to get involved. Seeing the big picture does not always come naturally. So surround yourself with people who can give you perspective. We want to hear your ideas to help move PT forward.
Let’s face it . . . all PT students are really busy. But take the time, show your passion, take the lead and get involved. It will make a huge difference in your career.
Stephanie Weyrauch is a 3rd year PT student from Washington University in St Louis. Originally from North Dakota and a PT conference junkie, Stephanie has chaired numerous committees at local and national levels and has led initiatives to advance rehabilitation research. Currently, she serves on the APTA Retention and Recruitment for Early-Career Professionals Task Force. She is also a key contact for North Dakota Congressional delegates in physical therapy-related issues. Connect with Steph on Twitter @TheSteph21
Student leadership is talked about often – but with too little clarity.
What the heck is student leadership anyway?
From the time we were kids we started to develop the idea of leadership and that concept has grown over the years. As a little kid, the leader was the one who could run the fastest or throw the farthest. Then in high school the leader was the “coolest” kid.
In my undergrad studies the leader turned into a strange, overly political character who owned suits (with an s) at the age of 19. It wasn’t until I entered graduate school that I came to realize that a leader wasn’t any of those things. Actually I was pretty far off the mark. A leader isn’t a person that looks a certain way, dresses a certain way or has any special “born-with” advantages.
A leader is made not born. A leader is one that cares enough about something, to become an absolute servant in order to see that thing succeed. Now this definition doesn’t sound very glamorous but often true leadership isn’t glamours. It’s gritty. By definition the leader has to be willing to sacrifice to lift up the cause – to lift up the team.
Now . . . why would anyone want to do that? It sounds hard… Now we are getting to the real heart of where leaders are made.
Passion for a Cause
Without an overarching passion to see a cause succeed there would be NO leaders. As students we are surrounded with causes everyday. Our cause may be to pass a test or graduate. In that case our overarching passion is to get through those obstacles. I have been blessed to come in contact with some crazy leaders (ie servants that care deeply for a cause) during my first 2 years of physical therapy school and it has left a mark on me. They have challenged my cause. Now I pass that challenge on. I challenge my fellow students not to “be a student leader,” like we’ve all heard a 1,000 times since middle school but to “find what moves YOU”.
What is your cause? Why are you doing what you are doing?
Once you answer that question, watch yourself become a leader.
Zack Duhamel is currently a 2nd year DPT student at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. Originally from Arkansas, Zack and his wife Ashli moved to Kansas City 3 years ago and had a daughter named Piper. Zack has a passion for business, entrepreneurship, and innovation in physical therapy. Zack is on the executive board of the Private Practice Sections SSIG. He also serves as class president. Connect with Zack on Twitter @zduhammy
As a Doctor of Physical Therapy student poised to begin my career, I feel fortunate to be entering into the field of at a time
of immense transition in the health care landscape. I’m enthusiastic because I believe that physical therapy is well positioned to demonstrate value in providing health care through our expertise in Empowering Others to improve their personal health and wellness. My aspirations as a future clinician include being a Positive Impact on others, Assisting Others to live their lives to the fullest extent. Our profession needs leaders that Share these Aspirations, and who look to display the values of physical therapy with others. This is how we as physical therapists can broaden our positive impact on the lives of others. That is why I believe it is important to be an advocate for our profession, and to represent though words and actions the benefits of movement and exercise on the human experience. To me, this exemplifies leadership in physical therapy.
Matt Stoltman is a 2nd year DPT student from the University of Minnesota. His professional involvement includes addressing patient advocacy issues at the state and federal legislative levels. He is a volunteer coordinator in the ‘Family Education Diabetes Series’, a program supporting exercise and wellness strategies among Native American populations for the prevention and care of diabetes and chronic disease. A lifelong Minnesotan, Matt is passionate about fitness and a marathon finisher. Matt encourages others to find physical activities that promote personal gratification and health. Connect with Matt on Twitter @MGStolt
When I made the decision to switch careers from accounting to physical therapy, I promised myself that I would Fully Immerse myself into the world of physical therapy. Despite the long nights of studying, and constantly juggling obligations, I became very involved outside of the walls of the classroom. During PT school we tend to get so bogged down with the educational details that we ignore what is happening in our profession as a whole. I wanted to understand not only how to be an amazing
Twitter has proven to be the most useful tool for me throughout PT school. The connections I have made, the conversations I have had, and the knowledge I have learned have helped Shape the PT I Will Become in just over a month. Being connected has allowed me to See the Profession as a Whole- both the achievements and the struggles. I have learned from some of the smartest physical therapists and business owners in the country. Prospective employers are more impressed with My Passion and Understanding of the profession than my knowledge of the human body. I have learned just as much being involved outside of the class as I have from my late nights of studying.
I urge you to think about your interests, your passions and your curiosities and get involved surrounding them. I challenge you to Think Creatively. If you wish something existed, Create It. If you wish something was different, Change It. We are the future of physical therapy and its time to blaze our own trail.
Lauren Kealy is finishing her final semester at Regis University in Denver. Lauren started her career as an accountant for a private equity firm for over 4 years but after soul searching decided to switch to physical therapy. Lauren has a passion for thinking outside of the box and challenging the status quo. She co-created and serves as President on the PPS Student SIG and has served as APTA Colorado Student SIG President. Connect with Lauren on Twitter @LaurenrSPT
Leadership is an intangible skill that sets you apart, but the key is to be an effective contributor. To be an effective leader you must have Confidence but Humility, Compassion, and an inner Drive to inspire and motivate people. An effective leader needs to speak up with an open mind but be the best listener in the room.
Every well-run system and/or organization requires leadership. The same is true for a classroom. It requires extra work to make sure everyone can voice their opinion and create a synergistic culture. Leadership Bridges the Gap between the faculty and students, creating a unified, passionate, and organized environment.
Leadership? Yeah. It makes a difference in the classroom and the clinic.
Maggie Bryant is a 3rd year DPT student from the University of Minnesota. A former college basketball player and track runner, Maggie has a passion for sports and is driven to be a sports physical therapist. She believes great leaders achieve greatness through humility, hard work, and their consistent ability to inspire others them. … Connect with Maggie on Twitter @Bryant5Maggie
A leader, to me, is an Advocate for what they believe in, which in my case is Physical Therapy, Health and Wellness, and Compassion. A leader is a person who Leads by Example. I believe that I lead by Being Involved in a number of committees and groups – the MNPTA Student Special Interest Group, the APTA Government Affairs PTeam, UMN 2016 Fundraising Committee, Health and Wellness Committee,
Young Champions of Alzheimer’s Association. I recommend that young leaders
- Attend Networking Events
- Volunteer for many causes such as the Muscular Dystrophy Camp at Camp Courage, Autism Association Walk, Bikes4Kids events, and “I Can Shine” Bike camp
- Learn from Other Professionals as often you can – working with other leaders and striving to be involved in advancement of the Physical Therapy profession.
Network. Advocate. Be Involved. We are the future of our profession!
Brittany Burton is currently a 2nd year DPT student at the University of Minnesota. With a mission to provide prevention and recovery from musculoskeletal impairments, Brittany is passionate about improving quality of life for all people and advocating for physical therapy. She serves as the event coordinator for the Minnesota Student Special Interest Group and recently planned the Minnesota Student Conclave. She is also an active member of her school’s fundraising committee, and avid volunteer in many areas. Connect with Brittany on Twitter @bjburton313
The PT profession operates through the Direction of Leaders and depends upon its students to take us to the next Leadership Level. Students can prepare for a leadership role by proactively Initiating leadership experiences – Be a Pioneer while at the same time . . . Learn from Today’s Leaders. Networking at conferences and other gatherings with leaders of our profession and Engaging in a Leadership role as a student opens up Great Relationships and Opportunities, and it enriches the student as a Multidimensional Clinician. Thus upon graduation, you will understand how the APTA and your state chapter operate, which define our scope of practice. Engaging in a leadership role as a student reveals how expansive the physical therapy career is within a smaller community of what you do day in and day out.
There are many sections of interest within our profession, with many overlapping clinicians that care about YOUR opinion. In my networking experiences, I have found that student’s opinions are heard, respected, and acted upon. Personally, my student leadership experience has exponentially influenced me as a student and connected me with the top professionals and topics.
Become a student leader and see the change you can make!
Andrea Tobias is currently a 2nd year DPT student at the University of Minnesota and is eager to get into the clinic. Outside of her passion for PT, she enjoys dancing and playing Australian Football. She is the Co-Vice Chair of the MNPTA Student SIG and is implementing advancements to the Section of Pediatrics to involve more new professionals and students. Wednesday is her favorite day of the week because she helps instruct adaptive dance classes. Andrea embraces new challenges and strives to be an exemplary leader. Connect with Andrea on Twitter @atobias27
In PT school, time is the most valuable resource in the world because it is not renewable – once it is gone, you can never get back.
As PT students, we have pulled numerous all nighters studying exams . . . stayed late on a clinical to finish up documentation . . . done research on that difficult patient. At times we feel like we barely have enough time to breathe so why would I want to add another thing onto my plate? I will tell you the reason to take that initial step into leadership outside of the classroom is all about the Return on Investment (ROI).
A ROI is defined as the benefit to the investor resulting from an investment of a resource. In business it is a major factor used to determine whether or not to it is a good idea to make an investment. I can personally attest that the ROI in getting involved in our profession is incredibly high. Once you invest your time you gain access to Knowledge, Experiences, Networking, and Mentorship that will aide you in achieving your goals. After your initial exposure bigger and better opportunities begin to present themselves and then you are able to take on more leadership. Leadership to me does not mean that you hold a certain position, are in charge of a project or end up getting your name on a plaque. Leadership is Finding Your Own Passion but more importantly Helping Others Find Theirs and reach their full potential. Go out and be a leader that you would want to follow!
Some ways that you can start this journey are to get in contact with your
Reach out to a researcher through twitter, a volunteer organization or just simply talk to a professor/classmate about your desire to get involved. It is remarkable the response and assistance that a Passionate Student with Drive receives when they have the courage to take that first step.
Devoting your time to get involved in your profession, your passion, is an investment that you will not regret making.
Rob Hofschulte, ATC, CSCS, will graduate in May 2015 from Marquette University’s DPT program. He has been fortunate to serve in a variety of leadership positions at the Wisconsin and national levels. He is a superhero fanatic, inspiration junkie, and Green Bay Packers Owner. Connect with Rob on Twitter @Rob_Hoff
Steph, Zack, Matt, Lauren, Maggie, Brittany, Andrea, and Rob
are role models for all of us.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that ‘Leaders are born’. Leaders are made; they are developed through personal commitment and support from peers and mentors.
What can YOU do?
Take the advice from and be inspired by these great young leaders.
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