Beginning of the Journey of a PT

This past week we said goodbye to soon to be “Dr. Riley” who completed his 12 weeks clinical here at NPT HealthWorks. Before his departure, we asked Riley to share how he got started on his journey to becoming a Physical Therapist.

In high school, I remember having no idea what I wanted to do with my life while my mom was constantly on my back to push me in some direction before college. On a whim, I decided to take anatomy my senior year. It was the first subject that I truly found a genuine interest in and that catered to my skills as a visual learner. With this information, my mom recommended looking into Physical Therapy as she had experience with the profession in her career working with children with developmental delays. 

I was accepted at the University of Rhode Island for Kinesiology with the hopes of continuing to graduate school after. To get experience in the field I volunteered at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket the summer after my freshman year. On my first day we worked with a gentleman who was recovering from a severe stroke. He was visibly frustrated with not being able to walk, fish, and speak normally like he had been doing for over 70 years. The therapist needed a second set of hands to help put the man in a harness to unweight his legs. With the help of the machine, and what strength the man still had in his legs, he stood for the first time in months! We brought a mirror in front of him to see himself standing which brought a huge smile to his face! 

Riley, showing a client how it’s done while Dr. Nate gives advice.

Seeing this man with the biggest smile was when I knew I had chosen the right career. I have always played and loved sports and thought I would try to work with professional athletes. However, my interaction with this man changed my path through school. I realized I got my greatest joy by helping regular people return to doing the things they loved: spending time with friends and family, returning to weekend softball, being able to work, to support their family, go out with friends, amongst any number of activities. I will graduate with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy this May and could not be more excited to have a career where I can have a profound impact on people’s lives not only in the short term, but educate them about strategies and techniques they can perform on their own to continue to live their life to the fullest.

While Riley will be missed here at NPT HealthWorks, we are excited to cheer him onto the next leg of his journey…and know that wherever he lands, clients will be lucky to have him as their PT!

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