For the past five years, the faculty from the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at LaGuardia Community College (LCC) have collaborated to provide students with an inter-professional experience. The Level 1 DPT students from CSI and the Level 1 and 2 PTA students from LCC met for this wonderful educational event.
Background information was provided to the students, regarding similarities and differences between the Physical Therapy (PT) and PTA professions, DPT and PTA curricula, as well as how to work together in a clinical setting. The students also engaged in an exercise requiring collaboration between the students to come up with a treatment plan for a hypothetical patient scenario. Students also took part in a role-playing exercise that depicted how a real-life scenario might enfold between a PT and a PTA in a clinical setting. The event took place at CSI in Building 5N. The location alternates each year between CSI and LCC.
“As a first-year student in the College of Staten Island’s DPT program, I have been continuously taught the importance of communication between physical therapists and other healthcare professionals while working in the field. However, it is often difficult to demonstrate this discipline in a classroom setting that only consists of other PT students. The interdisciplinary seminar with the PTA students of LCC was an amazing opportunity to practice working together as a team and to begin incorporating necessary communication skills with each other. This collaborative workshop allowed us to develop a stronger awareness of the other’s profession, learn from one another, and simulate hypothetical scenarios that we will all likely experience in the future. I left the seminar with a sharpened perspective of the PTA profession and ultimately feel more comfortable with my communication skills going forward in my physical therapy journey,” noted Sean Dwyer, Level 1 CSI DPT student.
“I used to think that a PTA was simply a liaison between doctor and patient, but it wasn’t until this experience that I realized we are more than that; PTAs are hard-working critical thinkers and DPTs value our opinions, skills, experiences, and judgement just as much as they value their education. I left that afternoon feeling even more proud of my professors, who not only love what they do, but taught it with such passion… This was a most privileged encounter that I will never forget and can only hope to one day pay it forward to the next generation of healthcare providers,” commented LCC Level II PTA student Amy Almeida.