Written by Lindsay Durand, SPT, Sasha Schneider, SPT, Jillian Watson, SPT, Amanda Clarke, SPT
Ask a SSIG Director: How Can You Learn More About Pelvic Health as a Student? is a new blog series developed by the Student Special Interest Group. The SIG Board will answer a question from students in the form of a blog post with each director giving their insight and knowledge. Submit a question for the Student SIG through our Contact Us page.
Lindsay Durand, SPT
“There are so many free resources out there to learn more about pelvic health! When I first discovered this specialty of physical therapy, I started listening to various podcasts, which talked about what to expect during pregnancy and postpartum, the importance of the pelvic floor muscles, how they work, and signs and symptoms of dysfunction. Since then, I have found numerous pelvic and women’s health physical therapists to follow on social media, I participate in the Academy of Pelvic Health Journal Club Free Webinars, and I take advantage of my access to the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy (JWHPT) to learn as much as I can about pelvic health physical therapy. All these resources, in addition to the opportunities we have created within the SSIG, have helped to advance my knowledge, and pursue a career in pelvic health physical therapy.”
Sasha Schneider, SPT
“Pelvic health is one of the many specialty fields of physical therapy, yet as a student it may seem hard to find more about it. When I became interested in pelvic health, I started doing research, but what helped me the most was talking with different pelvic health physical therapists and hearing their journey. Many of them lead me back to the Academy of Pelvic Health and that is why I decided to get involved. The Academy of Pelvic Health is a wonderful resource and the SSIG has been extremely beneficial in providing information on pelvic health. This year we hosted a residency fair, which taught attendees about the different pelvic health residencies and provided students a chance to talk directly with many of these programs. We also have hosted coffee chats where we can all get together and talk about all things pelvic health! I am so grateful for all the information provided by the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy.”
Jillian Watson, SPT
“As a student, it can be daunting to try to figure out how to navigate the world of specialty practice. The first place that I always recommend students to go is a section/academy within the APTA. As Lindsay, Sasha, and Amanda have pointed out, there are many free resources including webinars, networking opportunities, and access to the JWHPT that come with membership. Student membership costs are significantly discounted, which is why I highly recommend that students get involved early if they know they are interested in Pelvic Health. My personal favorite way that I began to find out more is through networking and personal discussions with therapists that are currently practicing. I searched in my local area for pelvic health physical therapists and began to reach out. Once I did, the outpouring of support was incredible. I have had numerous phone calls with various therapists in my area. We talk about what I can do now as a student to better prepare myself for practice in this setting, they tell me about their current practice and how they got there, and we usually share a few laughs and tears about patient success stories! Building this local network of mentors has been encouraging and I highly suggest that all students do this.”
Amanda Clarke, SPT
“I cannot emphasize enough how much networking has helped me to immerse myself in the world of pelvic health. At first, like many students, I was nervous to put myself out there. So, I started small by talking to other students and getting connected with local pelvic health PTs. I emailed my professor that I wanted to learn more about the specialty, and she connected me with a previous coworker from California (I live in Philly) and we talked for an hour over video chat! I also set aside time to talk with a lab instructor at my school, and through these two successful clinicians I got different perspectives of what it is like to do a residency or go straight into the workforce. Additionally, in this new world of social media, Instagram has been a huge resource for me. I have virtually connected with many people who have guided me toward a path of success in my clinical career! The Academy of Pelvic Health and being a part of the SSIG has been an amazing avenue of networking, some of my favorite memories being the interactive coffee chats and residency fair. Overall, my best advice is to not be afraid to get involved and learn more. Contact people. Send emails. Make phone calls. Go in person (post-COVID). Initiative goes such a long way, and the more you put in, the more you will get out. Also feel free to reach out to myself or any of the SSIG directors anytime if you have any questions or just want to chat! “
About the Student Special Interest Group
The SSIG is a student-led group dedicated to connect physical therapy students (SPTs and SPTAs) from across the nation on issues and topics relevant to students and rising early-professionals. Whether you are in your 1st, 2nd or 3rd/final year of DPT school or your PTA program, the SSIG leadership is here to help guide you and direct you to helpful resources! Year-round, the SSIG hosts virtual events such as workshops, webinar panels or social meet and greets to connect you to fellow students, industry experts and potential mentors. Learn more about the SSIG at www.aptapelvichealth.org/ssig.