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Is a Women’s Health Residency Program Right for You?

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments

Written by Susannah Haarmann

Lately I have noticed more people, new-grad and seasoned clinicians, asking me if I would recommend doing a residency program in women’s health physical therapy…the short answer; I’m glad I did it, it was an intense year and it is not for everyone (but, what is?). I’ve attempted to summarize my experience as a resident, address the pros and cons and offer some alternatives for everyone here. 

THE ORIGINAL GOAL

First, I would like to acknowledge that I would not be where I am today writing coursework, teaching continuing education globally and publishing books if it were not for my residency experience. It is even a possibility that I would be doing something completely different! The year before I began my residency at Duke University in 2011, I was a 29 year old travelling PT. I was extremely happy working on the west coast taking short-term home health and acute care contracts, being highly paid and discovering myself and new places. I saw the face of health care changing though, and I wasn’t sure it would hold up to me being able to deliver the kind of care that made my work fulfilling. I wanted to expand on my skills as a women’s health physio and start my own niche practice one day; my vision for this required me being at the top of my game and thought I could achieve this through an intensive women’s health residency program.

THE INTERVIEWS

I had two interviews; one with a private practice owner who set up her own program and one with a prestigious teaching hospital and university system. It was clear by the interviews that both programs would be demanding and rewarding. Both residents at Duke at the time reported that they worked on average 80-120 hours per week; in my head I said ‘no thanks’ and resolved to find another way. It wasn’t that I was opposed to hard work, it was that I loved my life and balance was important to me. I turned down both positions. But, when the head of Duke University’s rehab department called and asked why and what he could do, I gave it a second thought. I was forthright; “I need work/life balance,” I said. He made modifications to the one weekend a month in acute care (this would have required working 12 10-hour days straight) and I agreed.

MY RESIDENCY EXPERIENCE

IMG_0083 (1)Prior to seeing my first patient, Duke scheduled for me to attend a 10-day certification training program in lymphedema; I was happy to add a few more letters after my name and get this expensive course paid for. The first day in the clinic I was on my own with an almost full case-load of lymphedema patients I hit the ground running (used to this as a traveler). Over the course of 12 months I attended 3 of Herman & Wallace’s intro to pelvic health series courses. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I worked from 8-6 seeing 9 patients a day. Tuesday and Thursday I worked my mentor’s schedule (I had 3 mentors while in the program spending 4 months with each person). My residency experience was a pelvic floor playground of learning opportunities. 

 

Highlights included:

  • teacher’s assisting for the PT program’s women’s health elective
  • assisting the first-year students with cadaver dissections
  • watching prolapse surgeries and prostatecomies prior to my work day
  • rounding with a colorectral surgeon, radiologist and OB/GYN
  • attending grand rounds
  • assisting a mid-wife during delivery
  • teaching post-natal exercise classes and attending birth classes
  • developing community education seminars
  • collaborating with residents in other specialties
  • interviewing holistic practitioners at the Cancer Center
  • completing a residency project and pelvic health modules along the way.

THE PROS

The pros are obvious. I can now forever say that I completed a residency program at Duke; a prestigious, universally known health care system. I had the ability to learn behind closed doors with other physical therapists on the women’s health team and was able to gain medical insights on examination, tests and procedures that are unique and difficult to gain otherwise. I was able to attend 4 continuing education courses over the span of my 1-year commitment and I was able to surpass the number of hours I needed to sit for the APTA Women’s Clinical Specialization board exam (which are fewer if you go the residency route).

susannaLIFE TODAY

I was relieved when I completed the program and ready to get back to a more balanced life. But, the over-achieving bug had bit me and after I graduated I began writing my own course “Rehabilitation for the Breast Cancer Patient.” It took two years of writing and research to be satisfactory in my eyes and requires continual tweaking to be great as new insights emerge, but it was the first of its kind. I then started teaching pelvic health courses for the Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute adding one pelvic course to my faculty repertoire per year. Now I am writing books and have started my own private practice. I feel I am fulfilling a purpose in life and I can also see how if I had stayed with my original decision I could have fallen in love on a beach in Spain and started teaching scuba diving classes somewhere. I am truly grateful to be on my present trajectory.

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

As you can imagine, this required a lot of time and multi-tasking on evenings and weekends. Residency is for the hungry individual who is ready to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. I could see if I had a family that the long hours, significant decrease in pay and residency expectations could add stress not only to my life, but my family life as well. I am not saying parents shouldn’t consider a residency and I don’t think it is just for single new grads either.

But for those of you who do not feel that residency is a good option for you and want to get on the fast track, you can! I want to encourage you to make a career plan. Here are some tips in designing your own quasi-residency experience:

  • I have observed trends in women’s health changing. More and more employers are seeing the benefit of investing more money in continuing education for women’s health clinicians. Some want their staff to feel confident fielding a variety of diagnosis while others are designing intensive trainings for an employee to start a program. I have even met physical therapy students completing the entire women’s health series prior to graduation! Could you negotiate continuing education with a prospective or current employer? You might consider paying for these courses out of pocket yourself; the cost of doing so would likely not equate to the pay-cut one takes to attend most residency programs.
  • Go to CSM (the APTA Combined Sections Meeting hosted every year) and lap up the women’s health content and network with other providers.
  • If there is a seasoned pelvic health clinician in your area, ask them if they would consider providing mentorship. Hopefully their hospital system or clinic allows for outside observation and they have a collaborative spirit; if not, some of your favorite continuing education instructors are willing to provide paid mentorship programs.
  • Start a wine night with local women’s health providers in your area where you choose a topic to discuss and discuss the recent literature (you could also host this on-line!)
  • Network with local physicians, mid-wives and nurse practitioners in your area and ask them if they would consider you shadowing them for a morning.
  • Become an active member of the Section on Women’s Health
  • Take a big leap and apply for the PRPC (Pelvic Rehab Practitioner Certification) or WCS (Women’s Clinical Specialization) exams then study, study, study!
  • Provide community education on a women’s health topic of interest to you that you like to treat and bring it to your local gyms, mom’s groups or a work team (also a great marketing tool!)

AND IF YOUR HEART IS SAYING YES TO RESIDENCY:

  • Interview the program as much as they are interviewing you. Consider what are the important selling-points that you want to glean from this experience and see which program offers it the best!
  • Consider your long-term goals after the program and how you might use your residency ‘play-ground’ to beef up your resume in achieving these goals.
  • Practice good self-care, communication among residency team leaders and mold your learning experiences as an adult learner.

Susannah Haarmann, PT, WCS, CLT is a board-certified Women’s Clinical Specialist by the American Physical Therapy Association. She is a private practice owner in Asheville, North Carolina, teaches continuing education in pelvic health nationally and teaches her 2-day course ‘Rehabilitation for the Breast Cancer Patient’ internationally. Susannah is the Author of the Your Core PT book series; patient education handouts for pelvic health and breast oncology clients.

 

 


 

 

 

Pelvic Physical Therapy: The Reality Behind the Curtain

Posted on: April 10th, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments

Pelvic Pain

By Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS

 

There can be a sense of mystery behind pelvic physical therapy, not only from the point of view of the patient, but from professional colleagues in the medical community.  Perhaps this has to do with the fact that pelvic Physical Therapists (PT) are often tucked away in physical therapy clinics behind a closed door. But let’s be honest; most of the mystery comes down to the internal (vaginal or rectal) muscle examination as a potential component of examination and treatment. That said, simplifying pelvic physical therapy down to an internal assessment or a vagina therapist is akin to saying the late Stephen Hawkings studied donut holes.  There is so much more to pelvic PT and the conditions we treat.

The beauty of practicing in pelvic physical therapy lies in the culmination of so many areas of expertise.  It requires an integrative understanding of the human body, finding the right clinical hypothesis and treatment direction in an area of practice where research is still evolving.  Pelvic physical therapy has the unique privilege of being truly wholistic.  Our patients have issues ranging from pelvic organ prolapse, chronic pelvic pain, pain from oncologic or dermatologic issues, urinary and fecal incontinence, issues related to pregnancy or surgery, pain or difficulty with orgasm or intercourse, and the list goes on.  Our patients are female, male, intersex, and transgender.  Our patients are adults and children.  Our patients are referred to physical therapy from ObGyn, Urology, Colorectal, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Psychology and Dermatology.  Our patient’s problems range from simple to complex.  Our examination includes the entire person, from a comprehensive subjective examination, where the patient can share their story, to a thorough objective assessment which includes the spine, pelvis, hips, etc.  The smallest part of the exam focuses on the internal assessment; either vaginal, rectal, both, or not at all.  For many patients, this portion of the examination is the first time which a medical provider identifies their pain or problem after seeking advice from multiple practitioners.  Pelvic PT’s are often the first provider who has listened to their story for more than a few moments and acknowledged that as a patient, they are not broken, and there is hope.

In the time of the Nassars of the world and #MeToo, clarification of what pelvic physical therapists do behind closed doors is more important now than ever.  When a person seeks treatment that involves the genital region, they deserve the same level of understanding and respect afforded to those receiving treatment to other part of the body.  Pelvic physical therapy and those who benefit from it should not be the fodder for tabloid tips on getting your best orgasm nor should it to be misconstrued as a sexual act.  Patients deserve evidence based expert care, appropriate support and resources to navigate their road to recovery.  Anything to the contrary is unacceptable.

Patients who seek treatment from pelvic Physical Therapists don’t see their issue as a joke.  Patients seeking pelvic physical therapy are patients after childbirth now dealing with changes in their bodies they did not anticipate, told to stop doing activities they enjoy.  These are patients unable to enjoy sexual activity due to pain, preventing normal intimacy or preventing opportunities to start a family.  These are patients struggling to combat the crippling pain of endometriosis.  These are patients who just completed cancer surgery, happy to be alive but wanting to live without the side effects of treatment including incontinence, pain and sexual dysfunction.  These are patients who are unable to comfortably sit for their commute after a fall on their tailbone.  These are children, fearful of social repercussions because they can’t control their urine or have nighttime bed-wetting.  These are patients looking for medical support after gender reassignment surgery.  Our patients deserve respect for their diagnoses, appropriate education and resources to make decisions regarding their care, and empathy for their medical journey.

Pelvic physical therapy is more than an internal muscle assessment or a gloved examination finger.  As pelvic physical therapists, we provide hope based upon legitimate physiological and medical examination findings.  Pelvic physical therapy treatment is fueled by evidence driven critical thinking and supported by a doctoral level professional education.  Pelvic physical therapy provides education and resources to our patients, so choices they make are influenced by evidence and not fear.  As pelvic physical therapists, we are honored and privileged to support the medical community, the patients we serve and those who will continue to benefit from our expertise in the future.

 

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Section on Women’s Health Announces the 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum Scholarship Recipients

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments

2018 Federal Advocacy Forum (7)We want to send a big thank you to everyone who submitted an entry to help SoWH find two fantastic representatives to attend the April 29-May 1 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

This venture was a success because we were able to find and identify several active students and early-professionals in our membership!

A special congratulations to Student Physical Therapist member, Cara Morrison of Creighton University (Omaha, NE) and Early-Professional Physical Therapist member, Mackenzie Van Loo (Newberg, OR) for being selected to receive the 2018 SoWH FAF scholarships.

2018 Federal Advocacy Forum (5)

 

Both Cara and Mackenzie will be attending the forum this month and will be mentored in by Gail Zitterkopf, SoWH Federal Government Affairs Chair. As part of the scholarship benefits, Cara and Mackenzie have free admission to the forum, two hotel nights and travel coverage sponsored by Section on Women’s Health.

Make sure to follow SoWH on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates on their experience and the movement!

Cara Morrison, SPT

It didn’t take long in Cara’s DPT education to realize physical therapists require a much larger presence in legislative issues. As a student at Creighton University, there was a lobbyist for the Nebraska Physical Therapy Association (NPTA) who came to speak with students each year about state legislation affecting PT practice and how we can get involved as students and clinicians. The first time he visited, Cara immediately realized her passion to get involved and make her voice heard to further our profession to benefit future patients. Since then, Cara has become the APTA Nebraska Student Core Ambassador, a position they recently added as part of the Nebraska Student Special Interest Group (NSSIG) board. As a part of NSSIG, Cara and other student members host an annual educational event to raise money for PT-PAC. Additionally, Cara has been the recipient of a scholarship sponsored by the NPTA to attend the APTA State Policy & Payment Forum this past September.

Cara has attended CSM the past two years to learn more about emerging research within the specialty. She has completed the first level pelvic floor course and will soon be engaging in ultrasound imaging research for pelvic floor biofeedback at Creighton. She looks forward to attending the International Continence Society conference. As a student intending to apply for women’s health residencies post-DPT, Cara strongly believe there is a great need for advocates to educate our governing bodies and communities about the benefits of pelvic health physical therapy on not only women, but also men and children. Cara strives to continue to advocate for the profession and specialty on both the state and federal levels.

Mackenzie Van Loo, PT, DPT

Mackenzie graduated from Pacific University in May 2017. She has been an active APTA member since 2014 and became a SoWH member in her third year of PT school. Since graduation she has attended continuing education physical therapy courses, gained 6 weeks of mentorship, and grown a pelvic health program for the clinic where she works in rural McMinnville, OR.  She has realized her personal and professional values statement which is: Providing competent, high quality service that is rooted in wisdom, empathy and evidence for righting the physical injustice of this world. In addition to pelvic floor rehab she  is also continuing her education through NAIOMT to further her expertise in orthopedics to complement her service to all her patients on all parts of the age and gender spectrums. When Mackenzie is not treating patients, you can find her at this time of year preparing her organic garden, making kombucha, preserving fruits and veggies or riding her bike.

Mackenzie want to attend the Federal Advocacy Forum because she wants to experience the fullness and ferocity that our profession has all while representing the Section on Women’s Health and advocating for improved service and access to health and wellness for all. She looks forward to the on-on-one mentoring opportunity with Gail Zitterkopf which she thinks will be invaluable to her patients care and for her personal growth.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Qualifying for Disability Benefits With Breast, Ovarian, or Endometrial Cancer

Posted on: April 2nd, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments
Written by Deanna Power

 

 

work-3262150_640If you or a woman you love had been diagnosed with cancer, there may be resources available. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly financial aid for people of all ages who are unable to work due to a serious illness. Cancer will not automatically qualify, but thousands of people are able to receive help every year if their cancer is advanced enough.

Medical Criteria Via the Blue Book

The SSA uses its own medical guide, known colloquially as the Blue Book, to review all Social Security disability applicants. The Blue Book contains hundreds of conditions that potentially qualify for Social Security benefits, plus the symptoms or test results you’ll need to be approved.

This means that when applying for disability benefits, you should compare your medical records to the required criteria listed in the Blue Book. If your cancer diagnosis is as advanced as what’s needed via the Blue Book, you should qualify for aid.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is listed in Section 14.10 of the Blue Book. Under this listing, you’ll have five ways to qualify for benefits:

  1. Your cancer is locally advanced, meaning it has spread to the chest wall or skin
  1. Your cancer has spread to 10 or more axillary nodes
  1. Your cancer returned despite treatment (3+ months’ chemotherapy almost always qualifies)
  1. You have small-cell breast cancer
  1. You have secondary lymphedema caused by chemotherapy requiring surgery to restore use of an arm

A good rule of thumb is if your cancer isn’t recurrent, anyone with breast cancer Stage IIIC (but sometimes IIIB) or beyond will qualify. IBC and metastatic breast cancer always, without fail, medically qualifies for disability benefits.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is found in Section 13.23 of the Blue Book. Under this listing, there are three ways to qualify:

  1. You have anything other than germ-cell cancer, with ONE of the following:

Extension beyond the pelvis (such as to the bowels)

Spread beyond the regional lymph nodes

Returned despite treatment

  1. You have germ-cell cancer that has returned or grew despite anticancer therapies
  1. You have small-cell ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer can sometimes qualify at Stage IIB, but will most often qualify at Stage IIIA1 or beyond.

Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer would also be evaluated in Section 13.23 of the Blue Book. Under this listing, there are two ways to qualify:

  1. Your cancer has spread to the pelvic wall, lower portion of the vagina, or distant lymph nodes
  1. Your cancer returned despite anticancer therapies

Endometrial cancer usually qualifies around Stage IIIC1.

The entire Blue Book is available online, so you can review the listings with your oncologist to get a better idea as to whether or not your cancer will qualify.

Starting Your Application

The easiest way to apply for disability benefits is online on the SSA’s website. If you’d prefer, you can always apply at your closest Social Security office. To schedule an appointment, call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213.

It’ll take 3-5 months to hear back from the SSA, unless you have metastatic cancer. Those claims are usually approved within two weeks due to an applicant’s dire need for aid. Once approved, you can spend your benefits on medical bills, childcare, monthly utilities or rent, or any other daily living needs.

Helpful Resources:

Blue Book for Cancer

Qualify With Breast Cancer

SSA Offices

If you have any questions, please contact Deanna Power at [email protected].

 

Apply Now

 

 

 


 

 

 

Delving Deeper into Women’s Health Physical Therapy at CSM 2018

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments

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In October 2017, Section on Women’s Health for the first time ever announced a scholarship opportunity that was specifically offered to early-professional members. As part of the scholarship, the selected candidate would receive one early-bird Combined Sections Meeting conference registration and three hotel nights in New Orleans, Louisiana in February 2018. After reviewing many applications, Section on Women’s Health selected Natalie Kiefer, PT, DPT as the recipient of the early-professional scholarship.

Natalie KieferNatalie Kiefer, PT, DPT

Natalie has been practicing as a PT for just over one year. While in graduate school at Pacific University in Hillsboro, Oregon, Natalie participated as one of a handful of PT students in the country receiving a scholarship from the Indian Health Service scholarship program. Through her commitment to this program, Natalie began working after graduation for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, a Native American community in Central Oregon. Natalie had a passion for women’s health for a while, stemming from her previous experience working as a Fertility Care Practitioner, educating women on their health and fertility. Natalie recently won the 2018 CSM Student Scholarship sponsored by Section on Women’s Health.

My CSM Experience

I was very honored to be selected as the CSM 2018 Early-Professional Scholarship Winner by the Section on Women’s Health (SoWH). Because of this scholarship, I was able to attend CSM for the first time! New Orleans was such a fun and exciting site for this year’s event. As a resident Oregonian, I loved exploring a new city with so much wonderful food and culture. (My Lyft driver told me he has never been to the West Coast, because we eat too many vegetables over here!)

It was a wonderful experience full of meeting new people, connecting with old friends, and networking with some of the leaders of the field that I have admired since delving deeper into women’s health. It also struck me that there were a lot of SPTs attending to get an early start on their journey to specializing in such rewarding and meaningful work. Kudos to you all!

As a new member of the SoWH, it was so formative to be able to attend the wonderful programs sponsored by the section and many other specialty sections. In my early-professional career, I often come across cases that do not fit neatly into my “box” or paradigm of diagnoses and treatments that we learn in continuing education for the foundational pieces of pelvic health. The real world is a bit messier than that! So the programming at CSM was a fantastic tool to open my mind to the actual clinical experiences of other professionals.

Maybe my patient is a female runner with incontinence? There was a talk on that! A yogi with pelvic floor dysfunction and poor breath control? There was a talk on that! A female patient with a spinal cord injury interested in having a child in the next few years? There was a talk on that as well! And if none of those presentations can guide me through treatment of the perplexing patient sitting in front of me, I can always look back on my notes from the “Complex Cases” presentation for inspiration. Within all of these aforementioned presentations and the other wonderful programming I attended, I had a great sense of pride in witnessing the excellent clinical judgement and problem-solving by my peers.

I also discovered that this is a group that likes to have a good time! I attended the lively “Board in a Bar” meeting on Bourbon Street sponsored by the SoWH. What a wonderful opportunity to socialize and learn more about other professionals from all over the world that share similar interests. I look forward to attending other events like this in the future!

“I had a great sense of pride in witnessing the excellent clinical judgement and problem-solving by my peers.”

On a more personal note…

This trip was my first time being away from my infant. I would be lying to say that I wasn’t nervous! But I was pleasantly surprised to find that each of the sites that hosted programming at CSM had a “Mother’s Room” where I could pump between sessions. (It was also a place where I connected with other mothers traveling without their children — many pictures from home were shared among us!)  I want to extend my gratitude to all of those involved in the planning of this event that made this accomodation and many others possible so that the attendees could enjoy their experience.

Overall, I cannot speak highly enough of my time at CSM. I whole-heartedly recommend attending to any other early-professionals seeking mentorship, to seasoned clinicians interested in networking, and to students looking to learn more about a specialty. I look forward to Washington D.C. next year for CSM 2019 and hope to see you there!

Stay tuned for announcements about future early-professional CSM scholarships sponsored by Section on Women’s Health!

 

 


 

 

 

SOWH Announces $40K Research Grant with Foundation for PT

Posted on: March 6th, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments

Foundation4ptsowhpartnership

 

Meryl-Alappattu

On behalf of the SOWH Board of Directors, I’m ecstatic to announce that the SOWH will be partnering with the Foundation for Physical Therapy to offer a $40,000 Research Grant beginning in 2019! The research grant will be offered every other year and will be administered by the Foundation.

As many of you know, in 2011 SOWH leadership established the SOWH Endowment for Excellence in Research through the Foundation. The intent of these funds was to support post-professional students pursuing advanced doctoral training (ie PhD, DSc) consistent with the mission and vision of SOWH, and these scholarships were to be offered every other year beginning in 2015. Unfortunately, the Foundation did not receive any doctoral applications meeting these criteria and the funds have gone unused.

Recognizing that the intent of establishing the endowment was to support research, your SOWH Board worked closely with Foundation staff to investigate other funding mechanisms. We decided that a $40K grant offered every other year aligned with the SOWH strategic plan of developing and implementing a rigorous research strategy. We believe that partnering with the Foundation, the only non-profit organization in the United States devoted to funding and publicizing physical therapy research, will bring enhanced visibilty to the SOWH endowment and expand the pool of grant applicants conducting research in this area. Having the Foundation administer the grant will also eliminate SOWH staff and volunteer burden for the peer review process, disbursement of funds, and tracking grant progress. All of these tasks will be performed by Foundation staff.

All eligible grant proposals will be reviewed by the Foundation’s standing Scientific Review Committee (SRC), in addition to one SOWH member who meets the SRC eligibility criteria; this individual will be appointed by the SOWH Board and will serve as a content expert reviewer on the SRC for this particular grant.

A Final Note

Don’t worry, our SOWH $10K grant is not going anywhere! We will continue to offer this grant annually and investigative teams consisting of at least one SOWH member are eligible to apply. This year’s deadline is April 1, 2018 at 11:59P.

Find out more

When Will Applications Be Accepted for the $40 K Grant?

February 2019 | Stay tuned for the application link announcement!

Questions?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Meryl Alappattu, PT, DPT, PhD
Director of Research
Section on Women’s Health-APTA
[email protected]

 

 


 

 

 

My CSM 2018 Experience and 5 Tips for DPT and PTA Students Attending CSM 2019!

Posted on: March 1st, 2018 by SOWHeditor No Comments

Written by Christina Vivit, Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy, DPT Class of 2019

Christina 1Wholeheartedly, I would like to thank the APTA Section on Women’s Health for providing me with the 2018 Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) Student Scholarship; I am so grateful for being part of such a welcoming, supportive, and passionate tribe of individuals as part of the Section on Women’s Health. The extraordinary levels of energy, sharing of knowledge, and overall community that I have experienced the past few days is truly remarkable as this is my first time attending CSM. Furthermore, it is exciting to think that CSM had an attendance of over 17,000 individuals this year—amazing! I attended CSM alongside of around 30 DPT students and numerous faculty from Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy.

The Section on Women’s Health General Business Meeting was one of my favorite events of CSM. This event captured the section’s radiant passion, active care for its leadership and goals along with significant membership growth within the past year. Thank you all so much for your gracious welcome to the Section on Women’s Health General Business Meeting!

Christina 3Something I particularly value about events that bring united, yet unique individuals together is exploring common buzzwords that we hear frequently within our profession. My top three buzzwords I enjoy exploring are underserved, vulnerability, and movement. Throughout my experiences in physical therapy school, I frequently find myself layering on more depth and substance to these words as I incorporate self-reflection into my routine. Although life may seem so routine due to the regularity of student or clinician responsibilities, I believe that the experience of routine may be accompanied by more profoundness than it may seem. Therefore, I loved obtaining others’ perspectives on these three words as I met new individuals throughout CSM. Going further, I challenge others to also consider buzzwords that may be found within our profession and explore further; you may be surprised at what you find or how others’ perspectives can challenge your own constantly evolving thoughts of certain buzzwords.

 

Tips for future students attending CSM

  1. Don’t be shy. Peers and colleagues at CSM are from all over the country as well as internationally, so it is neat to talk to others about their own experience where they attend school or practice due to differences in practice laws, demographics, and philosophies from place to place. Great opportunities for this can be before or after educational sessions, poster sessions, evening events, or even inviting a new friend to have lunch in between sessions.
  2. With regards to session planning, I mainly attended those that are within my personal, clinical, and research interests, however, it is good to include some sessions that may not entirely relate to your current interests to see what else is out there – hence, Combined Sections Meeting.  There are PLENTY of sessions to attend, and I highly recommend going out of your current interests and exploring a couple other sessions that you can learn from; this is also a great way to build on topics discussed at school and taking it to the next step at CSM.
  3. As physical therapists, we know the importance of proper footwear; this is your time to practice that! You will be walking quite a bit throughout CSM so be sure to have comfortable footwear; even if it means wearing your cute dress with gym shoes, I promise your feet will thank you by the end of the conference!
  4. Volunteer for your section’s booth. This is an opportunity to share your passion and enthusiasm for your field of interest while also engaging with others who stop by the booth. I always love hearing about everyone else’s unique route as to how they came about loving our shared field of interest, so this is a fantastic chance to do that.
  5. Take it all in – every moment, interaction, learning experience, everything. You will be tired by the end of it, but it is totally worth all the learning, socializing, and walking.

Christina 2Overall, CSM was an experience that I highly recommend to any student who is thinking about going. Prior to leaving for CSM, I admit I was physically and mentally exhausted from coursework, however, I am certain that this experience is highly energizing and motivating for any DPT or PTA student that is also experiencing exhaustion. I guarantee that you will take home so much new, fresh energy with the amount of community, evidence-based principles and practice, and strong enthusiasm housed within our profession and experienced at CSM.

 

 


 

 

 

Part V: The Next 5 Years, Creating Driftwood with Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT

Posted on: December 18th, 2017 by SOWHeditor No Comments

Missed Part IV? Read Part IV here.

SoWH Blog Series | Posted Every Monday, Nov 20 - Dec.18, 2017
Welcome to the five-part blog series featuring Tamra Wroblesky, 29, recently named Emerging Leader of the Year by the APTA. She is no stranger to the Section on Women’s Health, as she was Student Special Interest Group President in her last year of school, represented the Section at several conferences, marched on Capitol Hill, and is currently on the Name Change Task Force. In her two years since graduating PT school from Thomas Jefferson University, she opened up Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy with Alison Ankiewicz, her last clinical instructor, and a celebrated pelvic physical therapist in central NJ with over 20 years of experience. In less than two years, Tamra and Alison have grown their reputation and their practice, by hiring three more pelvic therapists to their team and providing quality care to Central and Jersey Shore residents.

What I am most excited for in the 2018 year…

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2018 will be a celebration of our third year at Inner Dynamics and my 30th birthday. I am excited to continue developing our business, fostering our staff, and launching our new website, while balancing my health, fitness, and emotional wellbeing. Now that we have five therapists, we have more energy and opportunity to reach the public and spread awareness about pelvic health issues. I’m excited for all the new faces that will walk into our office and how much I will change their lives and how much they will change mine.

Where I see myself in the next 5 years…

“I see myself continuing to grow my practice on the Jersey shore and provide high level pelvic health care to all types of communities. I see myself balancing my practice and my patients with my other passion of mountain climbing and travel. To date, I have done 21 of the highest points of each state with my boyfriend, and I hope those are completed in 5 years and I have 3 more of the 7 summits (highest point of each continent) under my belt. I see myself continuing to work with weightlifters and other athletes with incontinence, pelvic, hip, and groin pain, and giving more workshops on pelvic health to places that don’t have good access to care. I want to spend the next 5 years spreading better awareness of pelvic issues so that I no longer get patients who have been searching for answers after many years.

 

What ignites and drives my passion for the physical therapist profession…

IMG_9264Just the other night I had my patient turn to me and say “You’re a really good doctor, you know that? You’re the first person in the past 5 years to actually listen to me.” The joy I receive from having a profound impact on people’s lives is immeasurable. One of the greatest gifts I’ve received from a patient is my first fancy ballpoint pen. She made it with her father-in-law out of driftwood she found on the beach. On the day she was discharged, she told me the driftwood was meaningful because for the longest time she felt tossed and turned from one doctor to the next. It was only after she went through her journey that she could turn out smooth and beautiful. I use that pen every day and when I feel the smoothness of the wood, I think of my own journey as a piece of driftwood. It began for me the minute I experienced sharp pelvic pain at 18 years old. If only I could tell myself back then that it wasn’t a curse, but a catalyst. Obstacles have a funny way of turning out to be your greatest source of power. I go to work every day excited that I get to make life better for someone else. I get to explain what’s happening and reduce fear. I get to be a part of the recovery process. I get to create driftwood.

 

 

tamraheadshot

Author

Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT, is co-owner and pelvic health physical therapist at Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy in Ocean City, NJ. She was the former SSIG president of the SoWH and is on the Name Change Task Force. Prior to moving her pelvic pain advocacy to the treatment room, she shared her recovery from pelvic pain on her blog, Sky Circles, and in Pelvic Pain Explained, a book about pelvic health physical therapy. In addition, her pelvic pain story has been featured on MTV’s mini-documentary show “Real Life.” [[email protected]]

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Part IV: Launching My Own Practice, Creating Driftwood with Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT

Posted on: December 11th, 2017 by SOWHeditor 1 Comment

Missed Part III? Read Part III here.

We sat down with Tamra Wroblesky, 29, recently named Emerging Leader of the Year by the APTA. She is no stranger to the Section on Women’s Health, as she was Student Special Interest Group President in her last year of school, represented the Section at several conferences, marched on Capitol Hill, and is currently on the Name Change Task Force. In her two years since graduating PT school from Thomas Jefferson University, she opened up Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy with Alison Ankiewicz, her last clinical instructor, and a celebrated pelvic physical therapist in central NJ with over 20 years of experience. In less than two years, Tamra and Alison have grown their reputation and their practice, by hiring three more pelvic therapists to their team and providing quality care to Central and Jersey Shore residents.

Launching Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy

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It was a predestined match- meeting Alison was the single best thing that happened to me, and I know she would say the same. From the first day we met, we complimented each other perfectly. Alison had a history of childhood leukemia, so she and I both had a personal connection to chronic pain and suffering. She is the most compassionate person (besides my mother) that I have met, and I saw it in the way she treated her patients.

When I was her student, Alison was currently renting a room from another physical therapist, and had a waiting list a mile long. We saw a great need for a large facility dedicated to pelvic health in Central NJ and on the Jersey shore. One evening, she turned to me in the parking lot and asked if I was interested in going into business together. Needless to say, I didn’t need any convincing- it was off to the races! I tackled everything head on: finishing my final rotation, studying for my boards so I could take them early, looking for office space, coding our website, registering our business, setting up payroll, finding equipment on Craigslist, painting our new space with my parents. I tried to do everything I could while Alison continued to work full time to support us and I was waiting for my license.

I loved Alison even more for fueling my enthusiasm for opening up a pelvic wellness center and not doing everything the traditional way. She didn’t bat an eye when I said I wanted to get a squat rack for our office and higher level fitness equipment. I’ll be the first to admit that I selfishly wanted them to blow off steam after work, however, it ended up being great foresight as I have worked with several weightlifters and crossfitters since opening our doors.

What I wish I knew before starting a practice…

I wish I had read the Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber before opening our practice. I probably wouldn’t have listened to him because I am stubborn, but maybe I would have made changes sooner. Many physical therapists are perpetually bad at owning practices because we are trained as therapists and not as business owners. Make sure you learn about the power of efficiency and delegation. As I said, when we first opened, we took on everything: laundry, cleaning, promotional materials, office painting, payroll, human resources, our financial records, our website… It was a lot, but I wouldn’t go back and change it because I find it empowering to know how to do all those things.

We have delegated some of the tasks and will continue to delegate more, but we also know what to do when things go wrong. You don’t need to get an MBA degree to become good at business. Read books, listen to podcasts on your way to work, and find a mentor to help answer your questions. Learn about the importance of search engine optimization and why you don’t need to overpay someone to work on your SEO, you can do it yourself! Learn about business credit cards and how you can sign up and receive bonuses- I was able to earn us an extra $1,000 in our opening months which we used for a lot of our equipment and supplies.

 

Stay tuned for “Part V:  The Next 5 Years”

tamraheadshot

Author

Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT, is co-owner and pelvic health physical therapist at Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy in Ocean City, NJ. She was the former SSIG president of the SoWH and is on the Name Change Task Force. Prior to moving her pelvic pain advocacy to the treatment room, she shared her recovery from pelvic pain on her blog, Sky Circles, and in Pelvic Pain Explained, a book about pelvic health physical therapy. In addition, her pelvic pain story has been featured on MTV’s mini-documentary show “Real Life.” [[email protected]]

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Part III: My 1st Year in Practice, Creating Driftwood with Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT

Posted on: December 4th, 2017 by SOWHeditor 1 Comment

 

Missed Part II? Read Part II here.

SoWH Blog Series | Posted Every Monday, Nov 20 - Dec.18, 2017
Welcome to the five-part blog series featuring Tamra Wroblesky, 29, recently named Emerging Leader of the Year by the APTA. She is no stranger to the Section on Women’s Health, as she was Student Special Interest Group President in her last year of school, represented the Section at several conferences, marched on Capitol Hill, and is currently on the Name Change Task Force. In her two years since graduating PT school from Thomas Jefferson University, she opened up Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy with Alison Ankiewicz, her last clinical instructor, and a celebrated pelvic physical therapist in central NJ with over 20 years of experience. In less than two years, Tamra and Alison have grown their reputation and their practice, by hiring three more pelvic therapists to their team and providing quality care to Central and Jersey Shore residents.

 

My 1st Year in Practice & Helpful Tips for Early-Professionals

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As a new professional, you have the ability to bring enthusiasm and energy into your physical therapy practice and your coworkers and colleagues will respond to that. Come into work every day with a big smile and new ideas for ways to reach your patients. You need to be able to connect with them on an emotional level and understand what plan of care will work for them. My biggest mistake early on was giving my patients too many exercises for home. I had all these ways to make them better and tried to show them everything I knew. For most patients, this is horribly overwhelming and they need slow and steady progressions of care. I’d like to share a few tips with you.

1. Simplify the homework! Look for the best “bang for your buck” exercises. For example, I love giving out modified lizard pose with thoracic rotation 10x each side because in one exercise I can affect adductors, hip flexors, and thoracic mobility. I have also recently launched an Inner Dynamics PT Youtube channel so I can record free content and provide another learning medium for our patients. Use technology to your advantage! We don’t have to handwrite out programs all the time. Get creative and use the power of the Internet to increase efficiency. In the next few weeks our new website will launch that will include all our videos and other resources.

2. Always surround yourself with people smarter than you and make sure to take care of yourself. I tell all my patients that when Alison and I first opened our practice, all my pelvic pain returned and I was miserable and stressed. Alison and I did not schedule lunch breaks our first year of practice, we cleaned our own office, and we took home the laundry every night. We were so good at taking care of everyone but ourselves. I am starting to find a balance that works for me. We now have at least 30 minutes for lunch, and I try to sneak outside for part of it to get some sunshine. I just signed myself up for a massage membership so I go once a month. I changed my hours to start at 9 am so I can get my workout in before I treat anyone. I scheduled several vacations this past year so I have time away from the office to disconnect and be in nature. Self love is imperative! Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you turn and help others.

Staying Active After Graduation

As an early-professional PT, I made sure to keep my momentum after I graduated, and despite being knee-deep in opening up Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy with Alison, I continued to stay active in the SOWH. I volunteered to be a member of the Name Change Task Force and continued to attend CSM. I kept networking at conference happy hours and met as many pelvic therapists as possible. I was sent by the SOWH to the March on Capitol Hill in DC to lobby for positive changes for therapists and our patients. I finished up my coursework with Pelvic Floor II and III, and took many other courses to bolster my knowledge base for my patients.

Learn more about Section on Women’s Health continuing education courses in pelvic and obstetric health physical therapy.

I also got involved with weightlifter Katie M., otherwise known as “The Lifting Librarian” by treating her coccyx pain and incontinence issues, and then last year sponsored and traveled with her to University Nationals in Florida, where she took home 6 gold medals. She and I remain close and are working together to try and change the myth in weightlifting and crossfit circles that peeing during workouts is acceptable. Stay tuned, we have a high profile article coming out soon! Through Katie, I had the opportunity to meet Michael McKenna, a fabulous weightlifting coach based out of Stewartstown, PA who motivated me to get my USA Weightlifting 1 Certification. He also recently invited me down for a Pelvic Health for Performance seminar at his gym, where I got the opportunity to teach and help many higher level athletes.”

Stay tuned for “Part IV: Launching a Physical Therapy Clinic”

tamraheadshot

Author

Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT, is co-owner and pelvic health physical therapist at Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy in Ocean City, NJ. She was the former SSIG president of the SoWH and is on the Name Change Task Force. Prior to moving her pelvic pain advocacy to the treatment room, she shared her recovery from pelvic pain on her blog, Sky Circles, and in Pelvic Pain Explained, a book about pelvic health physical therapy. In addition, her pelvic pain story has been featured on MTV’s mini-documentary show “Real Life.” [[email protected]]

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS? SUBSCRIBE NOW

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Email *

 

 


 

 

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