I am always reminded when I attend National student Conclave (NSC) why I love being a PT. The youthful exuberance and optimism DPT students have for their future and that of the profession, seemingly regardless of the program they attend, is inspiring to say the least. This is even in spite of mounting tuition debts that frankly make me depressed (and it’s not even my debt!). In fact, I would propose that state licensure boards require all licensed PTs after ~ the 10 year point following graduation be required to attend NSC so that they can be “re-recruited” and reminded of why they chose PT as a profession in the first place. Although a part of me is saying this in jest, surely this would be more beneficial than the mandatory ethics CE requirements mandated by some states and the cultural competency emphasis espoused by APTA ! Quite simply, there is no more fun group of PTs to hang out with in my opinion than DPT students in mass.
In particular, I was fascinated by the residency/fellowship session that was conducted on Saturday afternoon. There was a large room filled with ~300-400 students. Approximately 50% of the students raised their hand when asked if they had definite plans to enter a residency program upon graduation. Now, if you do the math, I realize this is still a small percentage of the ~7000 graduating PTs each year (2-3%?). Nonetheless, the number continues to grow. Unfortunately, the presentation was mostly superficial with statements like “be sure to know the different types of programs”, “know what you are getting into”, “ask the right questions”, etc without any detailed explanations as to the differences between residency programs and specific questions to ask. Nonetheless, I am curious to what extent the EIM community thinks residency is the “next big thing” in the profession. My sense is that now that we’re on the other side of the master’s to DPT transition, residency training is indeed the “next big thing”, albeit on a slower growth curve than the DPT transition, which seemingly happened overnight.
So, let us know your thoughts (especially students…please speak up!) as to what extent you think residency training will eventually become as commonplace in PT as it is in physician training (where north of 90% of medical graduates complete residency training). What say you?
To all the students I met with individually, in a group, or simply informally in passing, thanks for inspiring me. You truly are the future, and I am humbled to serve alongside you as we seek to have a pivotal role in health care reform and making PT the best profession on Earth. To any student anywhere in the country, reach out to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or SMS/cell (210-363-7410) anytime you wish. I commit to getting back to you within 30 minutes, literally, except between the hours of ~9 PM and 4 AM central (try me!). You mean that much to our future. Thanks for taking a chance on the greatest profession on Earth!