How to find your niche as a Physical Therapist

How to Find your Niche as a Physical Therapist

by Kimberly Smith, PT, DPT, VRTLeave a Comment

As a new grad, it can be overwhelming to make plans around your career as a PT. Do I want to specialize? Do I want to start a residency? How do I get involved in leadership? It is important to dream, set goals for yourself, and understand all our profession offers. Here are some tips for making your dreams a reality at Athletico.

1. Get your “feet wet” as a new clinician. In your first 1-2 years as a treating therapist, it’s imperative to be comfortable with your treatment flow, understand all processes and procedures of the clinic and company, and juggle a full caseload. This time will help initiate some energy and passion around what resonates with you as a clinician.

2. Find a mentor. This can be someone in your clinic, a colleague within your region, or a respected leader you’ve met along the way. Have candid discussions around your professional and personal goals regularly with this individual.

3. Consider Clinical Programs and specialty techniques. There may be a patient population, body part, or skill you’ve learned that you enjoy treating. Join our Clinical Programs to surround yourself with others passionate about treating this population. This is a great way to facilitate discussions around treatment ideas, collaborate on community outreach opportunities, and introduce yourself to referral sources in your area.

4. Become a content expert. You can help lead journal clubs, teach weekend prep courses, or even assist with webinars through Athletico. Ultimately, you may be the lead go-to clinician in your area!

5. Complete an Orthopaedic or Sports Residency. You can advance your knowledge and skills to provide exceptional therapy to your patients. This will prepare you to sit for the national certification specialty exam and become a credentialed clinic specialist.

6. Host a student. Becoming a clinical instructor is a great way to give back to our profession. Growing the skillset and confidence in our students helps the future of our profession.

7. Participate in our Emerging Leaders program to help recognize other leadership opportunities, including management.

Remember to check in with yourself and re-evaluate your goals regularly. Request feedback from your mentor and supervisor and ask for support where needed!

Career Opportunities

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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About the Author:
Kimberly (Kimi) Smith is a Vestibular Physical Therapist with Athletico, specializing in treating vertigo and post-concussions. The "dizzy population" is her passion, having treated this population since 2012. Combining her love for athletics and her Physical Therapy profession has been the main focus of Kimi's career. As a former CCWHA hockey player, she enjoys educating athletes on the importance of injury prevention and healthy training to improve their competitive abilities. The team approach to concussion management has led her to become a respectful resource in the area.

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