This week we’d like to introduce you to yet another PT student who exemplifies professionalism and leadership, and demonstrates tremendous drive and promise in shaping our profession in the years to come. Jillian Tanych just began her third year at the University of Vermont’s DPT program where she’ll be headed out on three 10-week clinical rotations this fall before graduation in May 2017. She’s also the APTASA Student Assembly Board of Directors Secretary and avid supporter of campaigns including #PTTransforms and #PTAdvocacy.
Welcome Jillian! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in the small town of Lyndonville. When I’m not studying or participating in APTASA activities, I enjoy traveling, camping, skiing, or pretty much anything outdoors!
What made you decide to become a PT?
When I was in high school, I participated in the federal TRiO program, Upward Bound (UB). UB’s mission was to help minority and low-income students achieve their goals of graduating from college. One aspect of UB was a job site, where we were placed with local community employers–and I was placed with a physical therapist. This early exposure to the PT profession and ultimately the patients I met along the way inspired me to pursue my DPT.
Is there an area of PT you’re particularly drawn to?
At the moment, I am keeping my mind open as I am not 100% sure what setting I would like to work in. I do feel as though the inpatient route, whether it be inpatient rehabilitation or acute care, may be more the direction I am going.
What kind of PT do you hope to be in the next few years?
Even after we graduate, we are still learning and evolving as who we are as professionals. Over the next few years, I hope to become a respected clinician who continues to learn and grow through mentorship, leadership, and evidence-based practice. Over the next few decades, I can see myself pursuing higher leadership positions, possibly within the APTA.
Why did you decide to get involved with APTASA?
Upon entering PT school, I craved that sense of community beyond the classroom. The more opportunities I said ‘yes’ to during my first-year led me to APTA National Student Conclave and NEXT where I met the 2014-15 APTASA Board of Directors. Their motivation and dedication to our Student Assembly really inspired me to become more involved with our student community.
Why do you think it’s important for students and PTs to get involved in the APTA?
My initial thought is that it is our professional responsibility to become involved with our national organization. Beyond that however, I believe that it is important to become involved on any level, whether it is the local, state, or national level in order to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst our profession. There are countless benefits to becoming an APTA Member, but more importantly are the connections we make with other clinicians and the knowledge gained from that, which can better help us treat our patients.
Do you think it’s important for PTs to have mentors?
I do believe it is important for PTs to have mentors, whether they be formal or informal, within our practice setting or not, it doesn’t matter. As clinicians, we are never done learning and can always benefit from the advice of others.
Do you think continuing education makes a difference for PTs?
I believe continuing educating makes a difference for not only PTs but also our patients. There is always something to be gained by taking courses, staying up-to-date with the literature, and enhancing our clinical skills.
What are some of the changes you’d like to see made in PT in the next decade?
The first change that comes to mind is our membership retention, specifically of PT and PTA students. The APTA Student Assembly is the largest APTA Component, however our retention rate after graduation is not good. If we can find a way to harness the enthusiasm of APTA student members and to demonstrate the value of APTA membership post-graduation, I believe we can retain student members. This would undoubtedly enhance the value of APTA membership, improve our ability to best treat our patients, and transform society.
Do you have a motto or mantra when it comes to your approach to care?
I have two:
1) As a student who is continuously learning, my mantra is to always admit when I do not know something. This can be difficult as we want to prove our worth and demonstrate that competence, however during our clinical rotations, it is important to admit when we are unsure, keep learning, and to reflect each day on how we can improve for the next day.
2) Always say yes to a new opportunity. If there is one thing I’ve learned outside of the classroom, it is that there is an abundance of opportunities out there. Whether it is saying yes to attending a national conference, observing a surgery, or attending rounds with local PTs, it is important to open your mind up to different ways of learning and growing as a professional.