Today we'd like to introduce you to DPT student, Dalin Hansen. Dalin graduated Cum Laude from Utah Valley University in 2013 with a bachelors in exercise science. He enjoys staying active with anything competitive, as well as hiking and biking. He became a fluent Tagalog speaker while working with the LDS mission in the Philippines, and when not studying he loves spending time spent with his wife and two kids.
Where do you study?
Currently, I am finishing my first year at the University of Saint Augustine in Austin, Texas.
Why did you choose PT as a career?
I had the opportunity to live among natives in the Philippines for two years where I witnessed poverty beyond measure. Most of the people I interacted with had little or no access to healthcare. The opportunity to improve quality of life sparked my interest in healthcare. I was drawn to physical therapy because it empowers people to heal themselves. I look forward to graduating so I can help those in need of effective healthcare here in America as well as those abroad.
Is there anything about PT that's surprised you?
When I started to gain interest in physical therapy I knew it could benefit a variety of populations. However, as I continue to learn I am consistently surprised at how widely encompassing physical therapy actually is. There is no population that would not benefit from physical therapy. In learning about the power and potential of the field of physical therapy, it is surprising to meet physical therapists who have lost their excitement towards physical therapy. On the other hand there are many who exemplify their passion for the profession. Interacting with these passionate professionals drives me to become involved in and an advocate for this amazing profession.
What kinds of challenges have you faced so far?
There is a vast amount of information to master in the process of becoming a PT. It is incredibly overwhelming to try to attain and retain everything that I need and want to know. To help with this challenge during PT school I have sought and applied research-based best practice methods for effective studying. This has vastly improved my ability to understand and retain information. It is exciting to handle the difficulty of graduate school by practicing the application of evidence based practice, since the effective application of this principle will be vital to the success of my career.
What value do you place on connecting with other PTs in person and online?
Connecting with other PT’s whether in person or online is one of my top professional priorities. Interacting in person has facilitated opportunities to receive mentorship and guidance. And the opportunity to connect with PT’s online provides limitless possibilities. Recently, (due to my wife’s pregnancy) I became interested in women’s health topics, and through online networking was enabled to reach out directly to current women’s health specialists; the response was remarkable. To be able to connect with the best of the best anywhere in the world makes the power of social media and online networking invaluable.
Do you plan on participating in continuing education and learning new manual therapy techniques?
Without a doubt. The University of Saint Augustine highly regards manual therapy, and motivated me toward choosing that school. As an undergraduate student I worked as a technician for a highly effective and busy PT, who mainly utilized manual therapy. I met many patients coming to the office with years of pain who finally experienced life changing, lasting relief through receiving effective manual therapy. Seeing so much relief in so many patients - that is what I want in my career, and I view manual therapy as a huge tool to do so.
Do you have any influential mentors?
The most inspiring professor of my undergraduate program was Steven Namanny. Somehow he completely changed my dislike of reading, and facilitated a passion for reading, especially books about healthcare. I learned many things from him as an undergrad but even more importantly, through showing me how to love reading, his influence has continued every time I discover a new book.
Dr. Thomas Werner leads by example. Visiting with him in his office inspires me not just academically but to become the best person I can. Most importantly, Dr. Werner has encouraged me to work through challenges and helped me cope with the stresses of school. Dr. Suzanne Trotter is inspiring because she is so real. She definitely knows how to teach the textbook and ideal answers to PT issues but she goes a step further and takes the time to illustrate the reality of real world application through her own experience. She is passionate and optimistic about the topics she teaches and consequently inspires me to be excited about the profession.
Allen Besselink @abesselink has taken me under his wing and helped me understand the importance to my career of becoming a musculoskeletal expert. He is also in part responsible for my desire to advocate for physical therapy and fight for the advancement of the profession. There are a few people I have never met in person but their passion for the profession is contagious.
Reading the words of and connecting with these people through social media has already begun to shape me into the therapist I want to become:@Jerry_DurhamPT , Tracy Sher @PelvicGuru1, Mike Stewart @knowpainmike, @DrBenFung, as well as many others. Because of the many who have helped me it gives me a strong desire to give back. Recently I have started blogging to advocate for the profession as well as support pre-pt students on their path to getting into PT school.
What is it that makes you a PT worth seeing?
I am becoming a PT worth seeing because to me, becoming a PT is not simply graduating, but a lifelong pursuit of progress, consistently learning and applying current best practice in the field, as well as advocating and advancing the profession.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Starting school I felt like there was nothing I could do to become actively involved in the field. I communicated with other students via social media and they all said how important it is to go to the national conferences to be involved. I agree with this but my situation does not permit that; having a wife, two kids, and one on the way puts us in a financial situation that does not allow for any extras. However, I recently attended a religious meeting where the speaker talked about the best way to lift a piano. He simply stated everybody get around the piano and lift where you stand; its just that simple. In other words wherever you are in life just do what you can. I have written government officials to help push forward the profession. Attending regional meetings for the TPTA has been insightful and helpful. Reaching out to other professionals online and through my blog helps me connect and advocate. It does not matter where you are in life or in the profession, what matters is that you grab on and lift where you stand.