For this week’s PT Profile, we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Robison, a physical therapist based in the DC metro area. Kayla graduated from University of Central Missouri with her Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training, and earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Elon University. She is dedicated to deepening her skills and is certified in a number of areas including medical massage, functional movement screen, level 2 dry needling, and is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist and exercise physiologist.
Why did you choose PT as a career?
I tore my ACL when I was 15 years old, was misdiagnosed for three months, so when my knee continued to buckle, my parents took me to my primary care physician. My doctor proceeded to perform the various ACL special tests and diagnosed the ACL tear. I was referred to physical therapy, performed a bantam of activities/exercises and did not undergo surgical intervention. I fell in love with the profession and decided that instead of becoming a veterinarian, I chose PT as my career path.
Is there a specific area of PT you’re particularly drawn to/enjoy doing?
I love athletes in general, but especially endurance athletes since I am a triathlete myself and have been a distance runner for many years.
Tell us about a PT-related challenge you’ve faced so far and how you worked through it.
I think one of the biggest problems we have in PT is the order of operation in which patients arrive in our offices. PT should be utilized predominantly as a preventative medicine approach, therefore, it is not only vastly underutilized in such capacities, but also lacks insurance coverage. We need to be sought after as the primary/first order consultants in reference to screenings as well as injury management once an insult/injury has occurred. Our clinic provides “free injury screenings” as a community outreach and I routinely participate and have performed numerous screenings for area athletes for injury prevention. The medical model needs to change in order to enable a healthier population with reduced healthcare costs.
Do you teach or participate in PT continuing education and/or learning new manual therapy techniques? Why?
I currently TA with NAIOMT as part of their fellowship program, as well as performing my required coursework for Level 3 and ultimately Level 4 certification. I also lead a regular study group in the DC area. I’m a highly motivated individual that feels as though we need to continue to advance science and medicine for improved patient outcomes and provide the best quality care at all times. If we as clinicians are not striving to be the best we possibly can be, then our patients will continue to suffer.
What role do you think mentorship plays in the PT field?
I believe as a clinician, our hands are our eyes in so many capacities, and without the appropriate training we are neglecting our potential to be successful in our skill set. A mentor can provide a more direct and expedited path… and I’m all for getting better faster, and so are our patients!
Is there a recent study or article that somehow influenced you or your approach to PT?
I am currently reading the textbook Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers. I love the regional interdependence that is presents in reference to fascial planes. The text is very integrative and easy to read and it also provides great perspective on treatment approach using the interdependence model.
What are some of the changes you hope can be made within PT in the next decade?
More residency/fellowship participation as well as improved access to PT being first line of defense in medical coverage for patients, whether utilized as a preventative medicine or initially after injury.
What steps do you think PTs can be doing now to get closer to those changes?
More education, research, and advocating for change from a political standpoint.
What is it that makes you a PT worth seeing?
I love what I do and I constantly strive to get better at crafting my skills. I also love breaking down the anatomical dysfunction and building it back up again – appropriate correctives to prevent relapse/exacerbation of previous symptoms. I am invested in my patients’ care and want to enable my patients to return to a high level of function/reach their goals. I’m all for treating the whole body as well. I tell my patients that they didn’t drop their shoulder off for treatment to pick it up in an hour…your shoulder hurts because you sit at a desk all day, have poor posture and then go try and throw a football from your arm instead of using your legs/hips/trunk to generate power (for example).
Anything else you’d like to add?
I feel as though NAIOMT is a fantastic model in incorporating the anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics as a collective body in order to promote change. Many other systems or gurus teaching out there cannot explain or demonstrate their models using all of the integration that NAIOMT provides.