PT Profile: Brooke McIntosh

A deep passion for physical therapy and for cultivating top notch clinicians is at the very core of NAIOMT. We’re wholly invested in this field, are true believers in the power of physical therapy–and physical therapists–to fundamentally affect positive change across the country and beyond. So there’s nothing more refreshing than seeing a DPT like Brooke McIntosh move forward in her career with such passion, realistic optimism and straight-up hard work. Let’s get to know a little bit about her.

brookeBrooke is a physical therapist who recently relocated from her hometown of Sneads, Florida to Baltimore, Maryland. Brooke graduated in 2015 from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Brooke serves on the Student Assembly Board of Directors as the Director of Communications as well as multiple APTA committees. You can connect with her on Twitter @brookemcintosh.

What made you decide to become a PT?
I wanted to work in a health care profession where I would get to know my patient as a person, not a diagnosis. I wanted to know my patient as a kindergarten teacher named Susan who likes to play soccer with her kids and needs to get back to leading her running group; not a 45 yo female s/p R hip replacement. Physical therapy is a profession where I am able to make a difference in the lives of others while building lasting relationships.

Is there an area of PT you’re particularly drawn to? 
I am most drawn to the outpatient setting as a whole. While my background is in manual therapy and orthopedics, I also love pediatrics. I have an appreciation for the outpatient setting because it allows me to establish relationships with patients, help them meet their goals, and see them through to the end of their treatment while assuring them I will be available if they ever need me in the future.

Tell us about your work with APTA Student Assembly. Why should students join?
I serve on the Student Assembly Board of Directors as the Director of Communications. Plain and simple I work with the other nine members of the Board of Directors to help students find their voice by creating opportunities for involvement and professional growth. My job specifically is creating and maintaining open lines of communication with student members to increase awareness and involvement in the opportunities available. I use a multitude of outlets to accomplish this including social media and the monthly student newsletter, The Pulse.

Personally I am a member because I feel that it is my professional responsibility. I see my membership as my insurance on my right to practice. I like many others do not know what is happening on Capitol Hill today but I know that there is a team of people at APTA that know what is happening every second and they are fighting for me. Also, being an APTA member has allowed me many opportunities, such as expanding my professional network, finding mentors, and learning about the issues that our profession is facing and what I can do about them. While many may argue about membership and what the APTA does, there is always room for improvement in any association but I have made the proactive choice to be involved so I can assist in making a change for the better and I hope that others do the same.

How important do you think mentorship is when it comes to PT?
As a student I was extremely lucky to have many mentors there to help me not only inside the classroom but also to help form me into the clinician I am today. The value of mentorship is priceless and I feel that every clinician regardless of experience level should have someone to keep them on track with their goals and bounce ideas off of. Mentorship should be a mutual relationship where both members are able to learn from each other and grow professionally.

I never knew how important my mentors were until Ann Wendel (@pranapt) was busy at work one day and didn’t have her phone on her for a few hours. Ann reminds me almost daily of my goals and never hesitates to give advice on reaching them. Ann supports me both professionally and personally and is the true definition of a mentor and friend.

I was lucky to have met some of my other mentors Eric Chaconas (@echaconas), Jerry Durham (@Jerry_DurhamPT) and Erica Meloe (@ericameloe) during my time as a student. They have all helped me become an advocate for the profession, keep my goals in focus, and most importantly transition from a student to a professional. Mentors have played a very important role in my professional life

Do you think continuing education makes a difference for PTs, and their quality of work in the clinic with patients?
Absolutely! Our profession is constantly on the move and evolving as far as evidence based practice goes. If you aren’t staying up to date with your education then your patients are the ones who are suffering. We must adopt the mindset of being lifelong learners to provide the best care possible for our patients.

What are some of the changes you’d like to see made in PT in the next decade? How do you think those changes can be achieved?
My vision for the physical therapy profession is that the public will have an accurate understanding of the physical therapist education, skill set, and value. The profession of physical therapy is very diverse, which often makes it hard for us to brand ourselves. To address this issue, we must interact with the public to show them our value. We should be known as the movement and musculoskeletal experts, and the public’s first choice for these issues. Our education and knowledge base is now at a level that dependence on referrals for patient visits is no longer morally defensible. We must be the agents of change and continue to push our profession forward.

What makes you a PT worth seeing?
I am committed to providing the best care possible while building long lasting relationships with my patients and their families. I want my patients to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about every aspect of their treatment. I am humble enough to admit I am far from knowing everything and I have no problem asking for help when I need it. This is also what pushes me to continue to advance my knowledge through continuing education courses, consulting with my mentors and keeping up to date with the newest research.

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