Physical therapy student

High School Outreach Plan provides invaluable PT experience for students

Choosing a career path can be an exceptionally daunting task, especially for a student. Many will be looking for that one opportunity that piques their interest in a topic that could result in a lifelong decision. After a competitive dance injury left her with a dislocated elbow, Melany’s treatment involved physical therapy in regaining the mobility she had lost. As it turns out, this unfortunate event would lead her down the path of her future career.

Melany attends a vocational school where she studies exercise physiology. As a junior, her classes are all medical-related, with some even focusing on physical and occupational therapy, which happens to be the path she’s most interested in. Melany assumed her next steps would involve continuing her education in a collegiate setting to learn more about PT/OT, but then a relative introduced her to our High School Outreach Plan at a neighboring high school. Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy Clinical Director and physical therapist Dr. Roger Avecillas is a part of that program. He frequently speaks to high school students about choosing physical therapy as a career.

Even though Melany was not a student at Roger’s designated high school, he saw a great deal of potential in her. It could have been the fact that they both come from Ecuadorian backgrounds with a strong family-oriented work ethic that tied them together, or perhaps Melany’s sense of curiosity and heightened level of interest. Either way, the two formed a connection that would ultimately solidify Melany’s career path.

“The impact of the HS Outreach Program is so powerful. Because Melany was referred to me through one of my other students, I was delighted to take her in at my clinic, and it didn’t take long before I knew I had made the right decision. Melany demonstrated an eagerness to learn and an intuitive nature that I typically expect in high school seniors,” explains Roger. “As a junior, she quickly adapted to our fast-paced clinical environment and fit right in with our team. She was open to engaging with patients right from the start and asked clinical questions directly correlated to patient diagnoses.”

The experience was equally rewarding for Melany, who shadowed Roger and gained a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a physical therapist.

“While at Ivy, I learned the basics of physical therapy. I learned how to welcome patients, what types of equipment are used, common exercises, and more,” explains Melany. “It was cool to be on the other side because I’ve been to physical therapy as a patient and had an amazing therapist that made the process fun. My experience at Ivy Rehab has given me a sense of assurance about what I would like to pursue in the future. It pushed me in the right direction and allowed me to narrow down my career options. I’ve always been passionate about helping people, so I think I’ll succeed in this field.”

Roger has played a vital role in the success of our High School Outreach Plan, and he continues to focus his efforts on it because of students like Melany.

“We aim to provide opportunities for students of all backgrounds,” Roger explains. “I was pleasantly surprised with the level of maturity Melany brought into our clinic, and I’m so glad that we were able to provide her with such a valuable experience – this is what the HS Outreach Plan is all about.”

Is a career in therapy right for you?

To read another success story that evolved from our High School Outreach plan, click here. If you’re in high school or college, or the parent of a student who would like to learn more about physical, occupational, or speech therapy as a career, we’d love to connect through our High School Outreach Plan. We have job shadowing opportunities available at many of our clinics, along with experienced therapists like Roger Avecillas, who are always willing to share their knowledge and love for our field. Contact a physical therapy location near you to learn more about available opportunities.

The medical information contained herein is provided as an information resource only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultation with healthcare professionals. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. IvyRehab Network, Inc. disclaims any and all responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained herein.

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