Loving a specialty as a student is not always easy. I found my passion for pelvic health as a 2nd year student. I stumbled into one of the many pelvic health talks at CSM and was instantly hooked. I spent a greater part of my last year as a student taking courses from the APTA Academy of Pelvic Health and finding ways to learn more about pelvic health through podcasts and free resources online. Frankly, I felt like keeping my passion alive was the only reason I was able to complete physical therapy school. So if you’ve found something that you’re even remotely interested in as a student, explore it. You don’t have to go as far as taking continued education credits but there’s always plenty of amazing and free resources out there.
Once you find that passion or interest, others will test it. Maybe because you need to focus on the basics, “that’s what will get you through PT school”. Perhaps, because it is “unheard of” that new grads enter specialties right out of college. Or my favorite; that you won’t pass your NPTE because you cared too much about said specialty. These are all reasons I had people try to discourage me with as a student, and they aren’t true.
Yes, you totally need to know your basics. However, much like me, that passion might be the reason you even finish PT school. For me, it gave me the “why” to everything I had to do. And yes, you can still pass your NPTE even if you’ve found interest in niche, because just like finishing PT school, you’re motivated with an end goal. And lastly, you can land that dream job as a new graduate. I was able to apply for and get hired as a full-time pelvic floor specialist. My hiring manager saw my passion and drive and didn’t second guess bringing me onto their team. I promise, the right person will see that for you too.
So I have 2 tidbits of advice to that student who has found a specialty that they love. First, explore and develop your passion. If you’re serious about that niche area, do the work. Take a clinical that will let you try it out and if you can afford it, take some courses to develop your expertise. Many organizations will offer discounts to students. Secondly, don’t let anyone discourage you from further exploration of something you love. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, don’t let someone’s opinion hold you back. It could be the make or break point for you going forward.
Author: Taylor Seabrook, PT, DPT
2023 Scholarship Recipient
Author Bio: Taylor earned her B.S in Psychology (2018) and DPT (2022) at Youngstown State University in Ohio. She works as a pelvic health therapist at Allegheny Health Network in Pennsylvania. Outside of her career, she is a mom, wife, and book lover!