We are pleased today, to introduce you to an inspiring young leader in our field, APTASA Director of Communications and DPT student at East Tennessee State University Alexis Morgan. She's been an active participant in an array of PT-related issues including Global PT Day of Service, and continues to facilitate vital healthcare conversations among her peers and beyond.
What made you decide to become a PT?
In high school, I knew I wanted a career promoting health and wellness for not only other people, but also myself. My husband was a few years ahead of me in college at the time, and his interest in PT greatly influenced me. When it came time for me to choose an internship, I decided to see what this PT-life was all about. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with our profession: the patients we treat and the PTs/PTAs we serve alongside.
Is there an area of PT you’re particularly drawn to?
I’m particularly drawn to Orthopedic Manual Therapy (OMT). I’ve had incredible influences through professors at East Tennessee State University; I’ve also formed relationships with some admirable OMT leaders via social media. Lastly, with my husband one year ahead of me in school and also drawn to OMT, its safe to say I’m headed in this direction, and extremely excited about it!
Why did you decide to get involved in the APTA Student Assembly?
I initially decided to get involved in the APTASA to help reach my goals of residency and fellowship training after DPT graduation. I was very unsure of applying for the Student Assembly Board of Directors (or any other avenue, for that matter), since I was only two semesters into DPT school at the time; however, I wanted to meet other student leaders across the nation. I wanted to join this “PT family” I kept hearing about. I wanted to grow as a leader and as a professional.
What types of initiatives are you currently working on as APTASA's Director of Communications?
#XchangeSA chats!! Occurring once a month, #XchangeSA chats are live-broadcast conversations between me (the Director of Communications) and a leader in Physical Therapy; viewers get to join the conversation via Twitter, just using the hashtag “#XchangeSA.” It’s a great way to meet new people, expand your professional network with fellow DPT/PTA students and experienced leaders in our profession, and learn from very influential leaders. DPT/PTA students ask questions on Twitter and hear the guest’s answers/responses—answers longer than just 140 characters!
What kind of PT do you hope to become throughout the next few decades?
I hope to become the kind of PT who is always asking questions, challenging traditional thought, and keeping my patients first… The kind of PT who is constantly learning in order to better my patients and my profession. Throughout the next few decades, I hope to keep my passion, enthusiasm, and spark and even increase it! I hope to be the PT who pays forward what I’ve already been given in my infancy of a career: mentorship, opportunities, & encouragement. Most importantly, I want to become the kind of PT I’m proud of.
Do you think it's important for PTs to have mentors?
Absolutely. Mentorship bridges the gap between the basic knowledge we receive in school and clinical practice and reasoning. Mentorship also provides the mentee an opportunity to grow not only professionally, but also personally.
Dr. Jeff Moore of Institute of Clinical Excellence and Dr. Gene Shirokobrod of UpDoc Media are two of my mentors. Jeff focuses on clinical practice, whereas Gene’s focus is on the business side of PT. The growth I’ve experienced from working with these two over the past few months has been incredible, and I’m looking forward to continue growing and learning.
Do you think continuing education makes a difference for PTs?
I think continuing education makes a big difference for PTs! While we learn the best and most up-to-date information in school, it can easily be outdated five years down the road. If we don’t continue learning, how are we going to know we’re treating our patients with the best possible care?
What are some of the changes you’d like to see made in PT in the next decade? How do you think those changes can be achieved?
In short, I hope to see us PTs thinking for ourselves, and challenging traditional thought; this is what Dr. Mark Kargela recently advised me (and other fellow mentees), and I hope others use this advice to move our profession forward. While there are many ways this can be accomplished, I think this change can be achieved by always challenging yourself, and becoming more self-aware.
Do you think it's important for PTs to be active in field-relevant online conversations?
You’re asking the Director of Communications here… so yes! Of course! I joined the Twittersphere July 2015; it was at that time that the course of my school and career path fundamentally changed; I began joining conversations, reaching out to new people, and getting behind great causes, such as PT Day of Service.
There’s incredible opportunities to expand your professional network, discuss new evidence, learn about local and global opportunities, and much more. Since becoming active in these online conversations, I’ve realized there is much to learn and many inspirational people to meet; why wouldn’t you join conversations that just may turn your career into something you’ve always hoped and dreamed?
Do you have a motto or mantra when it comes to your approach to care? If so, what is it?
Not yet! I’m still in my infancy of PT practice, but check back with me in a few years; I might have something for you at that point.