On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Daniel Chelette, Amy Arundale and Justin Zych on the show to discuss physical therapy career paths. We will be  answering some questions from our presentation at the Combined Sections Meeting in Denver, Colorado entitled, Turning the Road to Success Into a Highway: Strategies to Facilitate Success for Young Professionals.

In this episode, we discuss:

-How work-life balance evolves in your  physical therapy career

-The physical therapy awareness crisis

-How to tackle the female leadership disparity in physical therapy

-Burnout and when to pivot in your  physical therapy career

-And so much more!


Amy Arundale Twitter

Daniel Chelette Twitter

Justin Zych Twitter

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode!  Learn more about Four Ways That Outpatient Therapy Providers Can Increase Patient Engagement in 2020!

For more information on Daniel:

physical therapyDaniel Chelette is a staff physical therapist at Orthopedic One, Inc., a private practice in Columbus, OH. He graduated from Duke University with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2015. He is also a graduate of the Ohio State University Orthopedic Residency Program and Orthopedic Manual Therapy Fellowship Programs. He became a Fellow of the Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists in April. Since June of 2018, he has served as the Chair of the Central District of the Ohio Physical Therapy Association. Daniel’s interests include evaluating and treating the complex orthopedic patient, peer to peer mentorship, marketing and marketing strategy and advancing the physical therapy profession through excellence, expert practice, and collaborative care.

For more information on Justin:

physical therapyDr. Zych currently practices physical therapy in Atlanta, GA as an ABPTS certified orthopaedic specialist (OCS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) with Emory Healthcare. Additionally, Justin is an adjunct faculty member with Emory University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program and a faculty member of Emory’s Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency. Justin earned his Bachelor of Science from Baylor University, then graduated from Duke University with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy. He has completed advanced training in orthopaedics through the Brooks/UNF Orthopaedic Residency and OMPT Fellowship programs, while concurrently practicing as a physical therapist and clinic manager in Jacksonville, FL. Justin is actively involved with the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and Academy of Physical Therapy Education. He has identified his passions lie in clinical mentorship and classroom teaching, specifically to develop clinical reasoning and practice management for the early clinician.

For more information on Amy:

physical therapyAmelia (Amy) Arundale, PT, PhD, DPT, SCS is a physical therapist and researcher. Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, she received her Bachelor’s Degree with honors from Haverford College. Gaining both soccer playing and coaching experience through college, she spent a year as the William Penn Fellow and Head of Women’s Football (soccer) at the Chigwell School, in London. Amy completed her DPT at Duke University, and throughout as well as after, she gained experience working at multiple soccer clubs including the Carolina Railhawks F.C. (now North Carolina F.C.), the Capitol Area Soccer League, S.K. Brann (Norway), and the Atlanta Silverbacks. In 2013, Amy moved to Newark, Delaware to pursue a PhD under Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler. Working closely with her colleague Holly Silvers, Amy’s dissertation examined primary and secondary ACL injury prevention as well as career length and return to sport, primarily in soccer players. After a short post-doc in Linkoping, Sweden in 2017, Amy took a role as a post-doc under David Putrino at Mount Sinai Health System and working as a physical therapist and biomechanist at the Brooklyn Nets. Outside of work, Amy continues to play some soccer, however primarily plays Australian Rules Football for both the New York club and US National Team. Amy has also been involved a great deal in the APTA and AASPT, including serving as chair of the AASPT’s membership committee, Director of the APTA’s Student Assembly, and as a member of the APTA’s Leadership Development Committee.

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy (00:00):

Hey everybody, welcome to the podcast. I’m happy to have each of you on and I’m going to have you introduce yourself in a second. But just for the listeners, the four of us were part of a presentation at CSM, the combined sections meeting through the American physical therapy association in Denver a couple of weeks ago. And our talk was creating a roadmap for your physical therapy career. And afterwards we had a Q and a and we just had so many questions that we just physically couldn’t get to them due to time constraints and the such at CSM. So we thought we would record this podcast for the people who were there and the people who weren’t there to answer the rest of the questions that were in our Slido queue. Cause I think we had quite a bit of questions. So, but before we do that, guys, I’m just gonna shoot to you and have all of you give a quick bio, tell us who you are, what you do, what you’re up to, and then we’ll get to all of those questions. So Justin, I’ll have you start.

Justin Zych (01:00):

Sure, so I’m Justin Zych. I’m currently with Emory university. I am teaching in an adjunct role with the DPT program and then also the orthopedic residency. I went through and did an orthopedic residency and manual therapy fellowship through Brooks rehab in Jacksonville and did my PT education with Duke university.

Daniel Chelette (01:28):

Hey everybody. My name’s Daniel Chelette. I also graduated alongside Justin from Duke in 2015. And also completed an orthopedic residency at the Ohio state university and then stayed on and completed a fellowship and with manual therapy at Ohio state as well. And then worked in an outpatient orthopedic clinic for a couple of years and then was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join on and work as a physical there, the player performance center with the PGA tour. So actually up to two months into that and it’s been a pretty cool experience. So that’s where we’re at right now.

Amy Arundale (02:15):

Hi, I’m Amy Arundale. I’m a physical therapist and biomechanistic with the Brooklyn nets. I also went to Duke although a few years before Dan and Justin and then worked in North Carolina for a little while as a sports physical therapist as well as working with a large soccer club before going and doing a PhD at the university of Delaware under Ireland Snyder Mackler. So did research on primary and secondary ACL injury prevention did a postdoc in Sweden with Juan activist and Martin Haglins before moving here to do Brooklyn.

Karen Litzy (02:56):

Well, thank you all for joining me and allowing the listeners to get a little bit of a glimpse into our CSM talk on a roadmap for a physical therapy career for those who weren’t there and for those who were, and maybe we didn’t answer their questions while we were there. We can answer it right now. So Daniel, I’m going to throw it to you. I’m going to have you take the lead for the remainder here. So take it away.

Daniel Chelette (03:20):

Let’s do it. All right, so just a quick little background of the foundation or basis for this talk. It really focuses on some lessons and things that we have learned through the four VAR unique experiences up until this point about professional growth and professional development and things we’ve learned, the easy way and things we’ve learned the not so easy way. And just tidbits of wisdom we’ve picked up along the way and we thought it’d be valuable to put it together and have a talk for CSM. And that’s kind of what well what the basis of all this was. So towards the last portion of the talk we just opened up wide open Q and A. and we got through a few questions but we’ve got a handful more that we’re going to go with. So we’re going to start out with let’s see. What do you recommend for the future PT that wants to get involved in a specific section of PT but wants to remain local to their community?

Amy Arundale (04:26):

I can start with that one. I think one of the nice things about being involved in the like sections is a lot of times they actually are based where you’re at. So they don’t necessarily, they may require going to conferences but they sometimes don’t even require that. So it’s really easy actually to stay local and still contribute and get involved in the sections. Really. The big piece there and is just reaching out and saying, Hey, I’m really interested in getting involved. How can I volunteer? And that might be, you know, helping with a membership that, which might be making phone calls or emails or following up with people who have maybe accidentally dropped their section or their APTA membership. It might be helping with various other projects, but a lot of times those are actually you know, maybe they’re internet based or they’re going to be through conference calls. So it’s pretty easy to stay local.

Karen Litzy (05:27):

Yeah, I think that’s a great answer. I’m pretty involved in the private practice section of the APTA and I would echo what Amy said. A lot of you can get involved in committees. So a lot of the sections have individual committees and most of that work is done online with, maybe you have to go to the annual meeting of that section, but that’s just once a year. And the good news is if you’re doing a lot of things online, you’re meeting people. When you go to, let’s say the section meetings each year, you’ll get to know people in your immediate local area. And it’s a great way to start making and nurturing those connections in those relationships. So then you’ll have people in your immediate area that you can go to for guidance and just to hang out and have fun as well. But I think starting, like Amy said, just have to ask.

Daniel Chelette (06:27):

Yeah. That’s beauty of the age that we live in is that it’s really easy to connect be a long distance. So technology allows us to do that. And I’m a part of a committee through the American Academy of orthopedic manual physical therapists. It’s the membership committee. And everybody’s all over the place where all across the country. And that was just something I got plugged into and I’ve met a lot of cool people through it and have made some connections within that realm. Be that, so there’s a lot of different like online and long distance ways that you can get connected without being connected, which would be, is it helpful if there’s a particular area you want to stay in, but you still want to get connected? Two people within your community but also outside.

Karen Litzy (07:17):

All right, Daniel, go ahead. Take it away.

Daniel Chelette (07:21):

All right. We’re stepping it up here. This next, and this is a good metaphysical question. Do you compartmentalize your life? How do you approach the interaction between family and professional domains?

Justin Zych (07:36):

So yeah, that is a really deep question. I’ll try to go through and answer to the best of my ability. I think that that intersects a little bit with my section of the talk, which really focused on trying to make sure that you could handle all of the new responsibilities that come with being a new physical therapist. I’m getting used to the responsibilities and productivity expectations, but while also at the same time understanding that it’s important to have a balance outside of the clinic and a really good work life balance. So as far as compartmentalizing it, I don’t know if I’ve specifically sat down and tried to put things into boxes. I do have a little bit of a blend. I mean, even my wife works for a different physical therapy company, so we share a little bit of a shared language with that.

Justin Zych (08:24):

But it’s important that whether it’s documentation or other things. When I leave the clinic, I try to leave and make sure that I have a little bit of time for me and time to focus on whether that’s my own professional development going and taking advantage of opportunities like this to meet and talk with other people or just relax and kind of step away from the responsibilities that you go through throughout the day. So that’s a great question, but a very, I think you’re going to find a bunch of individual answers from it.

Daniel Chelette (08:56):

Yeah, I think it really, it’s an individual question kind of like Justin mentioned in, I think for me. What I’ve found is, you know, maybe well work life, work life balance, particularly going through residency and a fellowship you know, work life balance, a 50, 50 split, maybe not completely realistic, it’s a work life division. So where you just have, you have things within your life, be it relationships or activities or whatever. We are able to unplug a little bit from work. And those might be bigger parts of your life at different points in your life. But it’s being able to, you know nurture and engage in all aspects of who you are as a person. And not just work, work, work, work, work but kind of be guided by what you’re passionate about, what’s important in your life. And those will take up bigger sections of your life pie at different points in your life. So it’s just important to try to have a division but not necessarily think that you have to keep that division at a certain level at all times throughout your life because life changes.

Amy Arundale (10:11):

So my old advisor LENSTAR Mackler and I’ve also heard Sharon Dunn use the metaphor of juggling. And they talk about juggling rubber balls and crystal balls. So your crystal balls being the things that are like really, really important. The things that you have to keep in the air because if you drop they shatter, so those might be like family, they might be important relationships. They might be work. And then you also then also have rubber balls. So rubber balls would be then things that if you drop they’ll bounce back. They’re not quite as crucial to keep in the air all times. And, that balance between some of those rubber balls and crystal balls is always going to change. But that there are some things that you have to keep in the air and some things that you can let drop or you might have, they might have a different kind of juggling cycle than others.

Amy Arundale (11:07):

So yeah, I think it changes from time to time. You know, I’ve had periods of time where I’ve basically just worked full time. My postdoc was a great example. I was basically, you know, going to work during the day working on postdoc stuff and then coming home and trying to finish off revisions on my PhD papers. And I was in a long distance relationship at the time, so it kind of just worked that I was literally working, you know, 14 sometimes 14, 16 hours a day. That’s not sustainable for a long period of time though. And I’m guilty of sometimes not being good at that balance. I would like to think as I’ve gotten older, I’m better at creating time where I’m not working or you know, actually taking vacations where I’m putting an email like vacation, email reminder on and not looking at emails.

Amy Arundale (12:04):

But it’s going to change from time to time. Those priorities will change as your life changes. So I don’t know if it’s necessarily compartmentalizing, but prioritizing what needs to be, what’s that crystal ball? Are those crystal balls and what are those rubber balls?


Karen Litzy:

Okay. You guys, they were all three great answers and I really don’t think I have much to add. What I will say is that as you get older, since I’m definitely the oldest one of this bunch, as you get older, it does get easier because you start to realize the things that drive your happiness and the things that don’t. And as you get older, you really want to make, like one of my crystal balls, which I love by the way, it’s Sharon Dunn is genius obviously. But for me, one of my crystal balls I’m going to use that is happiness.

Karen Litzy (12:58):

And so within that crystal ball, what really makes me happy. And that’s something that I keep up in there at all times. And at times maybe it is work. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s my relationship, maybe it’s my family or my friends or it’s just me sitting around and bingeing on Netflix. But what happens when you get older is I think, yeah, I agree. I don’t know. And I think we’ve all echoed this, that I don’t think you compartmentalize. You just really start to realize what’s the most meaningful things for you. Right now. And it’s fluid and changes sometimes day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year.

Daniel Chelette (13:55):

All right. And one, one quick thing on that last question. Kind of a hot topic, particularly in the medical doctor community is burnout and resiliency and you’ll see those terms thrown around a lot. And I think a big thing is to realize that those types of things as far as burnout and kind of getting to a point, we’re just sort of worn out with what with the PT professional, which do on a daily basis everybody’s susceptible to it. You know, we can all get caught in this idea that maybe we’re indestructable or you know, Oh, I can take on as much as I wanted to or need to like machine X, Y and Z. At a certain point it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And you have to sort of like Karen and Amy alluded to that prioritization is huge. And definitely gets a little bit easier as you gain more life experience and kind of see what matters and maybe what doesn’t so much.

Daniel Chelette (14:51):

Okay, now they’re kind of good solid question here. So I’m going to paraphrase a little bit in, So companies, businesses usually do something really specific now for a specific product or a service or something like that. They focus on one thing.

Daniel Chelette (15:02):

In PT, we do many things. Is there an identity crisis within the profession of physical therapy? And how do we address it? So I’ll kind of get the ball rolling? That’s a heavy question. I think to a certain degree, I don’t know if I would say crisis, but I do think at times like I use the situation of if somebody asked me what physical therapy is. Initially I have a little bit of a hard time describing it. I think, I guess the mission statement of the vision 2020 is sort of what I fall back to. It’s a really good snapshot of how we can describe what we do. It’s basically helping to optimize and maximize the human experience through movement and overall health and, you know, but that in itself is a little bit vague and a big picture and sort of hard to really put a specific meat too. So, yeah, I think, I think to a certain degree it’s a little bit hard to say what is physical therapy’s identity? What do you guys think?

Amy Arundale (16:21):

I would say, I don’t know if we have an identity crisis, but I think we have an awareness crisis. I think the general public’s knowledge and awareness of physical therapy and then also within the medical profession, the awareness and knowledge of what physical therapy is I think is a massive problem because that knowledge and awareness isn’t there. And probably part of it then comes from us. I think, you know, Dan, what you’re saying, I think that is that kind of, if we can’t describe ourselves then no wonder other people can’t figure out what we do or how we do it. So I’ll give a shout out actually to Tracy Blake who’s a physical therapist and a researcher in Canada. And one of the things that the last time when we sat down and had a chat was, she kinda gave me this challenge was if someone were to walk up to you and ask you what you do, come up with a way to describe what you do without using any medical terminology.

Amy Arundale (17:28):

So without using movement, without using sports, without using some of our fallback terminology, like come up with that elevator pitch of this is what I do. So I’m happy if you’ve got that at the ready. If you understand that, if you can kind of, yeah, the drop of a dime, give that, you know, five seconds spiel about what physical therapy is, then suddenly, you know, that person knows. But we’ve all got to have that at the ready and we’ve all that. I’d be able to do that so that we can put it in a common language that, you know, your next door neighbor can understand, that your grandmother can understand. So when they come to you and say, you know, you know, my hip’s been bothering me for six weeks and I’ve been going to a chiropractor you’ve got that language to be able to say, well, have you thought about physical therapy?

Amy Arundale (18:29):

When you’re talking to a doctor in a hospital or even just in a, you know, normal conversation you know, you’ve got that ability to say, well, Hey, you know, what about PT? Yeah, let’s not put them on an opioid. Let’s get them into physical therapy. So I think it’s really a Big awareness crisis.


Karen Litzy:

Okay. So Amy then my challenge to you is to Tracy’s point, how do you answer that question? And then I haven’t even bigger challenge though I’ll say to everyone, but how do you answer that question?


Amy Arundale:

So I’ve written it down. Let’s see if I can get it right. The short version of mine is that my goal is to help athletes at all levels develop into their optimal athletic being as well as develop their optimal performance. What if someone says, well, what do you mean by optimal? That’s a good question. What does that mean exactly? How do I help you become the best you can be?

Karen Litzy (19:27):

Okay. Not bad. Not bad. Excellent. Very nice. Very nice. So now I have a challenge for the three of you and let’s see. Daniel, well, no, we’ll start with Justin. Let’s put him on the spot first. Great. All right. So I was at an entrepreneurial meetup a couple of years ago, and the person who was running this, Mmm gosh, I can’t remember his name now. Isn’t that terrible? But he said, I want everyone to stand up. In five words. So you have five fingers, right? Most of us. So in five words, explain to me what you do. So talk about stripping it down to its barest essentials. Simplifying to the point of maybe absurdity. It’s hard to say what you do in five words, but Daniel, I’ll start with you. So someone comes up to you and you say, I’m a physical therapist. Five words. This is what I do. Help people live life freely.

Karen Litzy (20:48):

Okay. That’s not bad. Not bad. Justin.

Justin Zych (20:51):

I’m not going to use a sentence, but facilitate. Educate. Yeah. Facilitate. Educate. Empower. Does that count that I repeated like six. Now, restore, empathize. Throw the thighs in there.

Karen Litzy (21:09):

Nice. Yeah. When I did this for this little meetup, I said, I help people move better. That’s what I said. Those were the five words. I help people move better. But I do like where I think maybe if we put our heads together and we mashed up all four of ours, I think we’d come up with a really, really nice identity statement that is maybe 10 words. So maybe we can put our heads together after this and come up with a nice identity statement made up of 10 words. And if we were at CSM, we would have the audience do this. This would have been one of their action items. So what I’d be curious is for the people listening to this, you know, put an action item put, what are your five words, what would you do to describe what physical therapy is? And then if you’re on Twitter, just tag one of us. You can find all of our Twitter handles at the podcast, at podcast.healthywealthysmart.com in the show notes here. So tag one of us and let us know what your five words are because I’d be really curious to know that. Excellent. All right, Daniel, where are we at?

Justin Zych (22:42):

So actually I want to, I still want to go back to the last question cause I think there’s a really good point in there. So Amy hit it really well with the awareness issue versus the identity crisis within our profession. I, I think one of the things that sets us apart is how dynamic we’re able to be. And the skill set that we’re given in, you know, when we have our DPT education and when we graduate, you know, granted, you know, we’re using the term as a generalist where you can go and specialize further. But I think that that’s a, that’s a rare but very very powerful trait of our profession is that we’re able to help across a spectrum of a lot of patients. The challenge that I would say if that question was worded a little differently is if we focus specifically just on one section, so is there an identity crisis within the orthopedic section?

Justin Zych (23:36):

If somebody comes in and they have hip pain, are they going to be treated differently by all four of us and then therefore does that make it really tough for us to come up with this five words, 10 words statement? Because we’re, we’re very heterogeneous in how we, how we address patients still kind of within specific subsets. So I think that’s probably the bigger crisis if you will. We still have a, you know, even within specific sections, a 10 lane highway instead of, you know, two or three based off of specific patient needs.

Karen Litzy (24:10):

And do you think that publication of CPGs helps that it for people who, and this is going off on a totally other question, I realize that, but following up with that, do you think CPGs published CPGs help with that and staying, I guess up and current on the literature can help with that? Do you feel like that is something that might close that gap of huge variability?

Justin Zych (24:39):

Yeah, I think the way that they’re designed, that’s exactly what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to take all of this, this you know, research literature review that we should all be doing and put it in a really nice, you know, consensus statement for us and then give us, you know, specific things to look deeper into the CPG. So I think that it’s there, it’s just again, how do you, is everybody finding that? And if they are finding it, are they applying it properly, you know, towards their practice. So I like that the information is coming out there. At this point, I’m not completely confident that it’s reaching throughout, you know, the spectrum of everybody that it should be. But hopefully, you know, it continues, especially with, as we have new people graduating, we really start to develop that as more of the norm. And then it’s a lot easier to not necessarily standardize but get everyone in in a couple of lanes instead of 10 lanes.

Daniel Chelette (25:36):

So Justin, just to play devil’s advocate what about the good things that come with having 10 lanes versus two? And there’s some people that I completely am on board with what you’re saying, but I think there are plenty of folks that would say, well that’s the beauty of physical therapy is that it can, you know, you can really make it make it individualized and what it is to you and you can treat. Obviously there’s principles that you abide by, but you can be different then the PT next to you and different to the PT next to them and I can still offer high value. What would you say to somebody who would say that?

Justin Zych (26:26):

I think that your statement you just said is completely fine. But, the issue that comes about that is that therapist who wants to provide the individual approach, have they, you know, exposed themselves to enough different approaches or different ways that they would look at it, that they can be truly individual to the patient instead of saying, okay, I’m going to focus on I’m a, you know, to throw anyone or anything under the bus here, but I am specifically a Maitland therapist. I’m specifically a McKenzie therapist. And then that approach fits that patient all of a sudden, as opposed to being able to expose yourself enough to be able to flow in and out. Again, based off of what you said, which is I completely agree with that individual approach. So making sure that you have that dynamic flexibility to cater your skills. Sorry, a little bit of a tangent there, but can’t help myself.

Amy Arundale (27:37):

I’ll piggy back and put a shout out to people who want to get involved. But one of the things that the orthopedic and the sports section, I’m going to go back to their old names, the orthopedic section and the sports section. In the newer clinical practice guidelines. One of the things that I think Jay has done a great job of is kind of forming committees around each guideline on implementation. So when we did the knee and ACL injury prevention clinical practice guideline, we actually had a whole separate committee that we pulled together that was in charge of how do we help disseminate this information and help clinicians implement it. So that was putting together a really short synopsis for clinicians, a pamphlet or just like one pager that can be like just printed off and given to a clinicians. It was two videos. So videos of actual injury prevention programs, one for field based athletes on one for court based athletes. But getting those out, just like you talked about Justin, you know, that that’s sometimes where that or that is where that gap between research and clinical practice comes. And that implementation is so important, but it means that yeah, there’s a chance to get involved for people who are interested in helping those guidelines really kind of truly get disseminated in the way that they need to be.

Karen Litzy (29:04):

Great. And I think that’s also really good for the treating clinician because oftentimes as a treating clinician, we feel like we’re so far removed from the researchers and even from the journals that you think, well, what is my contribution going to do? Like how can I get involved? I’m the J word, just a clinician. And so knowing that these committees exist and that as a treating clinician, you can kind of be part of that if you reach out to get involved I think is really important because oftentimes I think clinicians sometimes feel like a little

Karen Litzy (29:42):

Left out, sort of and left behind as part of the club, you know. So I think, Amy, thank you so much for bringing that up. And does anyone else have any more comments on this specific question or should we move on to the next one?

Daniel Chelette (29:59):

Alright. So Amy and Karen, this question is geared towards you guys. So the question reads while PT is a female dominated field, there is still a disparity in female leadership. Do you have advice for female student physical therapists who may desire those leadership roles?

Karen Litzy (30:24):

I would say number one, look to the APTA. Look to your state organization, look to your, even where you’re working and try to find a female physical therapist or even look to social media, right? Look to the wider world that you feel you can model. So I think modeling, especially for women, for people LGBTQ for people, minorities is so important. So you want to look for those models. Look for the people who are like, Hey, this person is kind of like me. So I really feel like I can follow a model, this person, I would say, look to that first and then follow that person, see what they’re doing, try and emulate some of, not so much of what they’re doing in PT, but how they’re conducting themselves as a professional. And then like I said, during our talk, reach out, you know, try and find that positive mentor of try and find that the mentorship that that you are seeking and that you need and that you feel can bring you to the next level, not only as a therapist but you know, as a person and as a leader within the physical therapy world.

Karen Litzy (31:46):

And I think it’s very difficult. I’ll do a shameless plug for myself here really quick. We created the women in PT summit specifically to help women within the profession, a network, meet some amazing female and male leaders within the profession and have difficult discussions that need to be had to advance females within the profession. And I will also say to not block out our male counterparts because they need to be part of the broader conversation. Because without that, how can we really expect to move forward if we don’t have all the stakeholders at the table. So I would say speak up, speak out, look at people who are at the top of their game.

Karen Litzy (32:40):

And then in a high level positions, Sharon Dunn, Claire, the editor of JOSPT, Emma Stokes, the head of WCPT. All of these people, if you reach out to them or you hit them up on social media, they will most likely get back to you. It may not be really fast, but they will probably do that. So I would say look to the broader physical therapy community. Look to the world of physical therapy right down to your individual clinics because I think that you’ll find there are a lot of people to model.

Amy Arundale (33:41):

Mmm, yeah. Yeah. I 100% agree. I think modeling and mentorship are huge. Finding people that you connect with and who can give you honest, upfront feedback but also support. So I feel like I’m pretty lucky in both having really strong women who I consider as mentors, cause I think that is important. When I was part of the student assembly, Amy Klein kind of oversaw the student assembly and she became someone who I really look up to and admire and will go to for, I know she’ll give me it straight whether it’s you know, good or bad, I know she’ll give it to me straight and I need that. But then also Joe Black is somebody who’s also been a longtime mentor of mine recently. And the Stokes I’ve connected with and that was just meeting her at a conference. And we connected at a conference and had an amazing conversation and that’s developed further too. So I think mentorship and then getting involved seeking the opportunities. Mmm. And seeking and creating, cause sometimes they’re not already there. Sometimes, you have to create them yourself. Some of those opportunities that you want going out and saying, Hey, can I volunteer here? Where they may not have had volunteers before. So finding those opportunities that you want and that you think will help you develop towards your end goal.

Justin Zych (34:53):

I was just going to say really quick of course you two have been, you know, great examples of how females can Excel and create their own path.

Justin Zych (35:08):

The thing about mentors is with mentors, it’s so important to have a variety of mentors because you’re going to pick out different things that the mentors are going to help you with. One of my most influential mentors was a female. She was, you know, I was involved with her in the fellowship program that I was in. And she really helped give me some really blunt but helpful feedback that helped a lot with some of my soft skills. So I’m kind of exposing myself a little bit, but she told me that after my lecture, it was on the cervical spine. She was like, yeah, like the content was great. You just weren’t likable and just kind of threw that right at me, let me chew on it a little bit. But that actually really changed how I approached a lot of different things and helped me develop those soft skills.

Justin Zych (35:55):

So at the same time, she helped me through some managerial struggles that I was having. So that variety is incredibly important. And I’ve been a mentor too. You know, some of my mentees were females and they’re doing amazing things right now and I hope that whatever feedback I gave them, they took the right things from and continue to move forward. So it’s an issue that goes across, you know, the gender lines. And as males, I want us to be aware that it’s going on as well. And not to lead into that discrepancy that Karen described, but still provide that same level of mentorship, same level of opportunity and consideration. So it’s a great question and hopefully the gap narrows as we go forward.

Daniel Chelette (36:59):

Oh, here’s another good one. Any recommendations for a PT that is two years out and feels completely lost and, or in the wrong setting?

Justin Zych (37:10):

Yeah, so I’ll start with that one. You know, of course understanding that I probably don’t have the exact answer here. This really tied into my portion of the talk, which was the importance of the clinical environment within your first couple of years of development. And then also making sure that you understood that we clarified the difference between being engaged in your environment, in your system, and even in your organization versus being burnt out. And how those two aren’t necessarily exactly the same thing. Burnout is something that we describe as more of like a longterm reaction with like physical manifestations where engagement is more of deciding how you want to use your remaining effort in the day, the effort that you can discern as I can do this to go home and watch Netflix or I can do this to really give back into my system.

Justin Zych (38:06):

So I actually had somebody right after the talk come up to me and just say that she really appreciated just hearing it and understanding that there are a lot of people that have that same sense where your question’s coming from. So I just want to put that out there first of all. So I would say first reflect on what first off what you want out of your clinic and see what they are and are not matching. And if you’ve been in that for two years, that’s a pretty good trial run to figure out if there’s a different environment that maybe you would want to consider that’s going to work more on engagement. What maybe that you want to be more involved in a clinical instruction and be a CI. Maybe you want to do some project management, have some more specific mentorship or it’s just the way that they’re setting up their productivity. So is it a question that I’m glad you’re steering into right now? But it’s gonna take a little bit of reflection not only on what your expectations are of the clinic and how you see yourself as a therapist but going even further, you know, keeping your system, your clinic accountable for are they meeting or at least trying to meet and keep me engaged in those environments. So we should, I wish you luck with that reflection.

Amy Arundale (39:27):

Nailed it.

Daniel Chelette (39:29):

Crushed it, man. I just got, I mean, that was a sick answer, man. That was right, right on the money. And the one thing that I would highlight is what I spoke on in my portion of the talk is try to strip it back and think, okay, like what am I about as far as life goes? Like, what am I passionate about? What am I into? What gives me energy? And then kind of builds yourself back up, okay, what as far as work goes, what aligns with that? And then why do I feel a disconnect with where I’m at? And are there ways that I can change my current situation kind of within it? Or do I need to you know, do I need to move on or do something different?

Daniel Chelette (40:22):

So I would try to use your personal passions and sort of your foundation of who you are as a person to help you kind of reset and try to figure it out. But you know, I think that’s a great question cause we all go through it at some point in time. And you know, the concepts of burnout. Mm. Oh, reduced engagement and things. That’s all part of the game. And those are completely, but I think burnout obviously isn’t a good thing, but don’t feel bad or guilty if and when you run into those things. Cause we’re all humans. And, they can happen but know that there are ways that you can move out of that and move past that. And that’s one of the cool things about PTs. There’s so much to so many different things to do and get involved in. But yeah, great question.

Amy Arundale (41:15):

That passion was just like the one word that I felt like we needed in that answer. So I think those two are perfect.


Karen Litzy:

So we’re good. We hit all the questions. So I’m going to ask one last question. It’s a question that I ask everyone and Justin, I’ll start with you. Not to put you on the spot again, but given what you know now in your life and in your career, what advice would you give yourself as a new grad fresh out of Duke.

Justin Zych (41:47):

Okay. Yeah, no, that’s an awesome question. I think the biggest advice that I would give myself is to not have expectations of quick motion, quick development. I’m going through. And in my talk I talked a little bit about, we were in Denver for CSM. So I talked about using the French fry approach with skis where you go down quickly or the pizza approach where you go slowly. So making sure that at times, I was looking at the, you know, what I would tell myself now is make sure that you’re looking at just that next step and not focusing on the step that’s three or four away. So that you’re really present in those moments cause there’s a lot of development things that you can potentially miss over as you’re trying to really quickly make it to that next step. So take a little bit more of that ski pizza approach.

Amy Arundale (42:40):

Fabulous. Daniel, go ahead.

Daniel Chelette (42:42):

I think what I would say is it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You know, it’s as far as, you know, career goes in, life goes, it’s not just, you know, going 110% each and every day. It’s being able to look at the long game. So with the short game, kind of along the lines of with what Justin said, just keeping in mind that Mmm,  it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to keep the big picture in mind.

Amy Arundale (43:47):

For me, it would be like give yourself permission and that I think that extends to a number of different things. But you know, one of the big ones is kind of self care, you know, kind of giving your self permission to take that time off or to let something else be a little bit higher priority. Whether that’s working out or spending time with people, kind of give yourself permission to you know, take that step back and look at things from that 30,000 foot view. So you can really see that big picture. So I think that would probably be mine.

Karen Litzy (44:32):

Excellent. And then I feel like I’ve answered this question in various iterations over the years, but I’ve really think what I would tell myself. Yeah, right. Knowing what I know now and when I first graduated, which was quite a long time ago, would be from a career standpoint to get more involved. Whether that be in the APTA or sections or things like that. Because I really wasn’t involved and from a personal standpoint is like I needed to calm down. Yeah. Like the Taylor Swift song, like I needed to calm down and that’s what I would tell myself. Like I was always kind of go, go, go, go, go and I have to do this and I have to do that. And so I would tell myself like, calm down.

Karen Litzy (45:27):

Things will happen. Kind of echoing Justin and Dan, like I really that’s advice I would give to myself is like, calm, calm down, you’ll be fine. So that’s what I would give to myself. So you guys, thank you so much. All of you for taking the time out and answering all the rest of these questions I think will be really helpful for people who are there and people who weren’t to get a little taste of what we spoke about at CSM. And like I said, everybody’s social media handles and info will be on the podcast website at podcast.healthywealthysmart.com in the show notes under this episode. So you guys, thank you so, so much. I really appreciate it. And everyone, thank you so much for tuning in. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.