Are you a seasoned physical therapist or relatively new to the profession? What questions and topics would you like to see us explore in our new PT Profile series? Tell us in the comments below, and nominate yourself or your mentor to be featured. You do not have to be familiar with NAIOMT — we’re simply trying to connect and facilitate productive conversations around physical therapy!
Now, for our first PT Profile interview, we’d like you to meet Ryan Willis, DPT of Performance PT in Bonney Lake, WA.
What is your philosophy on continuing education/lifelong learning?
One of my favorite things about being a physical therapist (and one of the things that drew me to the profession) is that you need to continually learn and never get lazy. This philosophy expands into my everyday life and not just professionally. Using your ability to seek after new learning opportunities is one of the most important things that we can do.
As a recent graduate, I was strongly encouraged by my CIs and professors to find a framework to continue my learning. NAIOMT has been a great path for me as a newer clinician because they’re very well trained on how to evaluate and assess patients. I am looking forward to expanding a little bit more and improving my understanding of movement analysis before progressing to my Level IIIs.
Have you had any influential mentors?
When I was in school I really appreciated the mentorship of Rike Mitchell and Bo Foreman. Their enthusiasm for both the profession and learning in general motivated me. One of the big perks of being a NAIOMT resident is the built-in mentorship opportunities. My boss Pete Erickson is providing a bulk of the mentorship and I’ve been lucky to case on several patients with Brett Windsor. Although I don’t have a formal mentorship with Chris Hoekstra, his courses have really influenced my practice. My NAIOMT classmates have been great and have taught me by their insights and questions too.
What makes mentoring worthwhile?
Although it is time consuming, I think mentoring is so critical — to find someone who knows a lot more than you do and to learn how to assess and think like they do. I find myself asking questions that deal with thought processes and experiences more than asking questions that deal with specific techniques.
What is it that makes you a PT worth seeing?
One of the things I prioritize is educating the patient so they understand all aspects of their condition and treatment process — ensure they don’t misunderstand anything. I love the teaching aspect of physical therapy.