In this episode, Associate Professor at Washington University School of Medicine, Sylvia Czuppon, talks about life as a clinician-educator.
Today, Sylvia talks about the advantages of working in academia as a clinician, the responsibilities of clinician-educators, and competency-based education. How does Sylvia balance being a clinician and an educator with the rest of her life?
Hear about how to decide what’s best for you, the misnomer of being a supermom, and get Sylvia’s advice for future clinician-educators, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.
- “Don’t say yes to everything.”
- “If those opportunities are meant to be, they’re going to come around again. If people really want you, they value your expertise and your knowledge and your skillset, they will come asking around again.”
- “It’s okay to let people know that you’re not okay, and it’s okay to be vulnerable.”
- “If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.”
- “For clinicians, you’ve got to know what kind of teaching you want to do.”
- “Networking, in general, is huge.”
- “Learn how to say no and to prioritise what you really want to do.”
- “If you sacrifice what you want for what everybody else wants, you’re not going to be happy.”
More about Sylvia Czuppon:
Dr. Sylvia Czuppon received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2000, Master of Science in Physical Therapy in 2002, and her clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2011, all from Washington University. She received her Certification as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2010. Her work has been published in British Journal of Sports Medicine, PM&R, Physical Therapy, and Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Dr. Czuppon is currently an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She divides time between outpatient clinical practice treating musculoskeletal pain patients and teaching orthopaedic content in the professional DPT curriculum at Washington University. She has given local, state, and national presentations on lower extremity injury rehabilitation and return to sport. She volunteers her time educating coaches, parents, athletes, and the community about youth injury prevention strategies.
Fourth World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy
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Read the Full Transcript Here:
Hey, Sylvia, welcome to the podcast. I’m so happy to have you on.
Thanks for having me, Karen.
Of course, of course. And, you know, we were talking before we went on the air about, you know, not seeing people in person and going to conferences. And the last time we saw each other was in Vancouver, at the third annual World Congress of sports, physical therapy.
Yes, right. That’s right. Yeah,
I think that’s correct. Yeah.
I can’t believe it’s been that long.
I know. I know. 2019. Right. Beginning of 2019.
I think it was. Yeah, it was COVID. Year, but it was before all that stuff. Yeah, yeah,
exactly. And, you know, shameless plug, the fourth annual World Congress on sports. PT is going to be outside of Copenhagen in August of 2022. Absolutely. So I encourage people to try and and your fingers crossed, it’ll work. I keep saying 2022. It’s gonna be the year. So shameless plug for that. Now, let’s move into you. So today, we’re going to be talking about life as a clinician and academia. And I love this topic, because I think there’s a lot of clinicians out there who are wondering, well, how do I get into academia? How do I how do I do that? So why don’t you give the listeners a little bit more about your background and how you did it? Sure. Yeah. So
I’ve been fortunate to be on faculty at Washington University in St. Louis for 15 years now. I think, approximately, it’s been a while. And yeah, I sometimes I’m like pinching myself. I’m like, How is time flown that way? How 15 years? Yeah. 15 years? I graduated in 2002. So yeah, yeah, it is, oh, my gosh, I
can’t believe it, I can’t believe it.
So. So when I, when I joined the faculty, honestly, it was it was a nice, it was a nice mix of events. When I came out of PT school, I knew I wanted to do a little bit of teaching, but the Washington University at least, recommends that you have about a year of clinical practice under your belt before you join an academic institution. Like lab assisting. So that’s how I got my start, I started lab assisting in classes that had orthopedic content. And when a position on the faculty opened up, I, I basically jumped at the opportunity got lucky enough to be hired. And away I went. So when I first started, my split, I think was 90% of my time was in clinical practice. And about 10% of my time was in, it was in teaching and it was all a lab assisting. And over the years, that is at has morphed considerably. I’m about 5050 right now. So I spent 20 hours a week in the clinic and 20 hours a week, teaching or doing teaching related things. And it’s been a I don’t think I’ll ever go below that. But who knows what will happen. But I like that balance that I’ve struck right now, I can’t ever see myself coming completely out of the clinic into teaching, like some of my colleagues have done, you know, you go to PT school to become a clinician, you don’t go to become an educator, otherwise I go to, you know, to get my teaching degree. And I think that’s probably been one of the biggest challenges is I am a PT, learning how to provide high quality education without an education degree. So there’s been a bit of a learning curve associated with that as well.
And what do you feel are the advantages of being a clinician and, and working in academia? So what does your clinician hat bring to your students?
Yeah, you know, I think it’s interesting. So, um, as a clinician, what is nice is I can give them I don’t want to call it real world application, but it really is. So they students, we teach them in the ideal scenario, like, Okay, your your patient comes in, they have this positive test this positive test this positive test, what must be their diagnosis? Is any patient ever that cookie cutter clean No, 99% of the time, they’re not right. So we teach our students in the best case scenario, the easiest ways to understand and so being a clinician, I can still give them a little bit of perspective, but like, here’s where the gray areas come in. And this is why we teach you that ideal scenario so that you recognize the ideal, but here’s how you can kind of think more with the clinical hat on it’s a little bit similar to being like a clinical instructor. I think that’s the greatest part about being a clinical instructor and shameless plug for those of you that are out there that are not clinical instructors. We need a lot more of them there. You know, our students are. It’s such a rewarding experience. It really is. It’s time consuming, don’t get me wrong, but it is very, very rewarding, but I’m so be so being a clinician and being able to, to give the clinical the true clinical perspective on some of the things that students is learning, I think can be, can be invaluable. Like I have students all the time. They’re like, Sylvia, this this sounds like a load of hooey like this doesn’t even make sense, like help me understand when I would ever do this, and to be able to tell them look, you know, this is exactly why you need to know this level of detail, or this is why as a, even though, you are determined to go into sports, physical therapy, or you’re determined to go into orthopedics. This is why you need to understand neuro for example, like, this is why they teach you neuro related things. I think I posted on Twitter, you know, like a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been to patients this year, that I think I’m, you know, not to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s unfortunate, these people fell through the cracks, I think, in referring them out, both of them have gotten a diagnosis of ALS that nobody caught before this point. And it was based on what history they had given me, as well as some of the signs and symptoms that I saw with it within them. They referred to me like one had scoliosis, and horrible back pain, and another one that was a total knee replacement. And those are not diagnoses, you would expect to have ALS diagnoses associated with them. But some of the other things they were describing, it was terrifying. And just, again, like these are things to help students understand that they all do go together, you’re treating a person that doesn’t come in with a strict diagnosis, you’re treating a whole person. And they don’t always get that in the education setting when we’re giving them fabricated cases.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And that’s, that’s amazing, by the way, from a clinical standpoint, that you were able to refer them to the right people to get the right diagnosis. Yeah. And that’s, you know, and again, that’s where physical therapists come in. And I’m sure that this is part of your teaching to your students that, you know, we can be that kind of primary care provider, you know, and even the second opinion,
sure, sure, yeah. And it is, it is one of those, you know, Missouri is not a direct access state. And so it’s interesting, like teaching in a non direct access state, because we do typically get the patients they have the referral, it’s generally pretty accurate, but you get some of these that fall through the cracks. And it’s why we get the training that we get as physical therapists, you know, for those scenarios. But even again, in a non direct access state, these patients had been screened by other physicians, and it possibly just the complexities of their care, it just things got missed. So
amazing. Well, now, let’s talk about what your responsibilities are, as a clinician, educator, so if you want to break it apart clinician educator, separately, or just let because I think it’s important if people are interested in in, going in this direction, they need to know what it entails and what their responsibilities. Sure.
So I think it’s a little bit different if you’re so so my position is a faculty member means that I split my my time, assume a 40 hour work week, you know, nobody who actually works that when they’re a faculty member on any any academic program, but, um, so I split my time for many people that come from a physician, whether lab assistant, in addition to holding a full time job, that’s usually hours, in addition to whatever your hours are in a week. So when I was working as a lab assistant, before I joined faculty, I was working 40 hours a week plus lab assisting X number of hours a week, so there was a little bit of that, because very few employers will give you that time off and say, Oh, you want to live six, eight hours, we sure only work 32 hours here, like, it’s very difficult to get that. And then depending on when the classes are during the day. So we have labs from like one to three, some people couldn’t do that it’s smack in the middle of prime, you know, treating hours. So that is definitely a consideration that people want to make. If you’re working part time, it becomes a whole lot easier. Your schedules are a lot more flexible, as a faculty member, so I have 20 hours a week, again, dedicated to patient care, 20 hours for teaching. So in my patient care responsibilities, I basically have a set schedule that is has to be designed around the times that I’m supposed to be in class. So that has to probably be the worst for the person for my for my clinic boss who has to come up with the clinic schedule. He’s working around everybody’s class schedules and the times that we can actually physically be in the clinic. And so I treat in our clinic, we have a one on one model, so we don’t overlap patients, you know, and so that’s, that’s really nice. We do have physical therapy assistants that we work with as well. And so I balance my caseload, I feel like any like I would anywhere else, I have autonomy to decide when I want to delegate when the patient needs, needs to come back to CV, frequency, duration, all of those kind of standard, standard types of things. Um, I am fortunate because I’ve been there long enough that I do get a little bit of flexibility and asking for the patient. Two types that I want to see. So I love the postoperative knees and any knee, really. So I do get a little bit more of those than maybe some others do seniority, it’s great. And then my academic hat is complicated. So I’m depending on what semester in the year that we’re in. And we’re also going through a curriculum renewal right now, which is a whole nother whole nother topic of discussion. But in some semesters, I am a course master for for a class. And so that entails doing everything you would expect from a course to making sure the syllabus is up to date, to organizing exams, practicals, lab assistants, supplies, outside lectures, patient labs, etc. to an other the other semester I am, quote, unquote, just a course assistant, so facilitating the course master with all of those duties. So those hours are kind of wrapped up in our actual academic time. So if I have 20 hours a week, and I’m only in lab for 12 hours, my other eight hours are supposed to be spent doing all these other behind the scenes things which are, which easily kind of add up. So it is a little bit of a mix, and the curriculum renewal that I was talking about. So Wash U is going towards more of competency based education, which I think is the movement in education as a whole. And so we’re we’re in the beginning stages of that our first year classes going through the start of our new revised curriculum, and I am helping to craft the second year curriculum. So that’s a huge task, taking what we currently have reorganizing it, restructuring it into an even better product than what we currently have. So there’s a lot going on, that is certainly more than 20 hours a week. So yeah.
And can you explain competency based education versus what’s currently happening? I don’t know if that’s like opening a huge can of worms. But let’s go for
Yeah, yeah. It’s also challenging my my full understanding of this, because it’s all it’s all this is like a complete foreign language. It’s like going through, as I as I kind of alluded to earlier, I’m going through, I’m becoming like, I feel like I’m going through to get my education degree in the process of learning how to teach the this material better. So with the competencies, it’s essentially like saying, Okay, you’re competent in gosh, there’s domains, there’s, there’s all sorts of terminology, but basically saying that, like, okay, that you have this one domain of patient and client care, within that you have different competencies, like, I’m able to take a, I’m making stuff up, because I don’t know them off the top my head, but like, able to take a complete history for like, able to do communicate with respect and dignity for the patient and care provider, like things like that. So there’s different things that this student is now having to pass and show competence in these competencies, a pass individual competencies, versus getting a grade in a class to say, you’re good enough for that grade, it could be really strong in one area, but really not great and another, but their overall grade is enough to move them forward. We want to kind of raise the bar a little bit and say, You know what, that was good. But we can do better. And taking it to like each one of these competencies you need to pass in order to continue on curriculum. Got it?
Got it? Well, that makes actually makes a lot of sense.
Does now trying to make every lesson plan, every lecture that you give mapped to every competency that you have is a whole nother topic of discussion. Yeah,
good luck. Yes. Yeah. Good luck with that. And now something that you kind of alluded to before, which I want to dive into is, so your 20 hours practice care, 20 hours teaching, and I put 20 hours in quotation marks, right? So we know as clinicians, it’s always more than 20 hours, right? And in teaching Gosh, it’s definitely more than maybe what you signed up for. So how do you and here comes the question, how do you balance all of that with the rest of your life? Because you’ve got kids?
I’ve got two teenagers. Yes, got a dog.
I’ve got two dogs, actually two dogs, you’ve got a home, you have got a life outside of all of this. So what do you do to balance it all?
Yeah, so that was probably the most challenging thing that if I could have gone back in time and talk to my younger self, I would have been like, don’t say yes to everything. That was probably the first thing that nobody really ever told me. Because I thought that if I said, No, nobody would ever asked me to do anything again, you know, you feel like this. Oh, this is a fantastic opportunity. I don’t know where the time is gonna come out of but I really want to do it. And so I just started I would say at the time yes to pretty much anything that sounded interesting. And even yes to some things that I was like, I’m not sure if this is what I want to do, but I feel like if I don’t say yes, I’m going to lose this. They’re going to think I’m not interested in it. Think so, naively when I was when I was a younger faculty, um, that’s what I did, I said yes to literally everything and almost put myself in a horrible spiral of I had so many issues in terms of that work life balance, I didn’t have any it was work, work work. And then life was like a tiny fraction of that. And that was when my kids were little, I’ve got teenagers that are 17 and 14 now. Um, but what I discovered over the years was that those opportunities are at least and I still believe this, if those opportunities were meant to be, they’re going to come around again, if people really want you, they value your expertise and your knowledge and your skill set, they will come asking around again. And you know, just saying no, one time, and just even saying like, No, you know, what, now is not the right time, I’d love to help you out. Can you come back again, like, you know, if you have another project, just ask me. I mean, hopefully I’ll have time at that point, you know, there’s no, there’s good ways to not just firmly shut the door right to leave that still open. Um, so I’ve found a better balance for myself now, because I’ve figured out what is super important for me, and what is not, like really important. So I started saying no to different class commitments that I had previously done, because it was it was stuff that was okay. But it was not my passion in teaching. And so I started whittling down to the things that that made me honestly, the maybe the most happy to think about teaching or be involved in. And when I started doing that, I did become happier with with how that balance was shaping up, because some of that work really wasn’t work anymore. You were enjoying doing it, versus looking at it and saying, Man, I got three more hours of this that I’ve got to prepare for, and I’m just not feeling it. You know, there’s a reason nobody’s ever asked me to be an anatomy lab assistant. And it’s, I mean, enjoy anatomy. Don’t get me wrong, but the level of detail I just, that would that was not my forte. No, that was not my forte. And it’s like, I want to know the applications and things that I’m interested in. But some of the things that they have to learn for PT school, it just wasn’t wasn’t in my wheelhouse. You know? Yeah. So it’s like, things like that, where, where I just prioritize a little bit better.
Yeah. And I was gonna follow up question I was going to ask is, How did you? Like, what methods did you use to decide what was best for you? And what methods did you use to break down? Like, no, like, this is a No, maybe not forever? But uh, no, for now, this might be a no forever. This isn’t a solid? Yes. Do you know what I?
Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t in certainly not easy. Um, it came again, across several, several years to try to figure that out. So part of it came down to okay, I was lab assisting in multiple classes. And did I really want to stay lab assisting in that context? If the context, if there was a, there was an immediate hesitation in my answer, then I thought, okay, that can’t be the number one priority that I really want to stay in that class. So then I started adding up hours, and how many hours a week? Or really, am I spending in that class? What could I replace it with? Um, is there another opportunity right now that I want to replace it with? So it was sort of like, figuring out the timing of things would be one thing? And then some of it was just just deciding, okay, well, I know it’s gonna throw me over the, the 20 hours or whatever that I have right now. Am I okay with that for a little while. And for a period I was and then now that I’m older, I’m not, you know, I’ve got I’ve got a, I’ve got a teenager that’s going to be leaving the house in two years. And I’ve decided, you know, what this would, this is the time I actually I want to spend with her, you know, not that I didn’t want to spend it with her as a little kid. But now I’m like, feeling that like, empty nest feeling starting to grow. And I’m like, I don’t want to miss, you know, all the things that she’s doing. And, and so I’ve just prioritize, you know, what, no, I’m gonna say no to that. Or I’m gonna say, you know, I can’t do this this year, or I can only do this for part of the time, like, admissions committee, you know, figuring out who we accepted to our program. Like, well, I can’t do it the whole year, but I can do it for part of the year Will that be okay, you know, and try to work out compromises with the people that are there looking for my time.
I love it. And, you know, so often women have such a hard time with this. Yes, you know, yes. Because we think if we say no, like you said, That’s it, we’re done, or we’re gonna be labeled difficult, or, you know, someone that you know, she doesn’t, she’s not interested. We’ll never get back to that. Right. So I think it’s, as a woman, we really have to kind of get over that kind of thinking and and realize like, Hey, if you say it’s a no for now, but not a no forever and the people are like, Oh, God, she was setting it up, well, then they’re probably not your people. Right? And that’s okay to let that go as well. Right.
I think what also complicates it a little bit is this whole Superman thing, right, like women that believe they can literally do everything. So you’ve got to be the best parent, you’ve got to be the volunteer at all the PTO, whatever school stuff, the sporting team, the in then at school, and then it works the same thing, I got to be able to handle this whole load and show nobody a crack in my facade, you know, so that they can see that I can do it, you know, and if I do you crack, then they’re gonna think that I’m weaker, you know, just stereotypes that way. I think that’s obviously it’s really unfortunate that that still exists. Um, but, uh, I, we’re not super human, like we have, you know, we have breaking points too. And we need to know what those are for ourselves for our own sanity, you know, for the sanity of our family members, our friends, all the people around us, you know, the pets, yo, all of that. So,
yeah, and your students as well, like Have, have you ever kind of displayed that vulnerability, whether it be to your employer, obviously, your family, and that’s a different story, but maybe to your employer or to the university, to say like, I’m reaching a breaking point. And so how did you do that?
Yeah, definitely. to the employer. Um, yeah. So So there have been times where and unfortunate our program director, gammon Earhart is amazing. And her predecessor, the CCD singer, was was great, too. And they’ve always been wonderful with this sort of open door policy. So when you hit that point, or you feel like you’re coming up to that point, I felt 100% comfortable going to them and saying, Hey, guys, look, I am, I’m over my head right now. And I don’t know what to do. Like, I really need some help. And they kind of talk you down a little bit and say, Okay, well, how can we make this better, I have been very fortunate to be supported in that role. Same thing with even my immediate supervisors within the clinic. Same kind of idea. I had some personal struggles earlier this year, unrelated to COVID. And having and knowing that I had that support system, by being in a good place, I think this is true of any job. But being in a in a in a supportive environment, where they were like, take the time that you need to get your your self. Right. You know, it was it was very nice to know that I had that kind of support.
Yeah. And so I think the moral here is, it’s okay. Absolutely, to let people know that you’re not okay. And it’s okay to be vulnerable. And if you’re the people you’re working with or for don’t accept that, then I think it’s a clear sign to say, Well, wait, wait a second, what am I doing here?
Right, right. Yeah. And I would love to say like that, I have been fantastic. And always being vulnerable. That is definitely a lie. Nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody is and I, I, you know, grew up in a, in a, in a household where perfection was like, required, it wasn’t even, you know, it was it was an expectation, just as you know, my hair is black. And it will say, well, it’s gray now, but that it’ll say one color like it was the expectation you will be perfect you will be you will not show or have any flaws. So bringing that into a scenario like I am in right now and telling somebody I’m not like I’m vulnerable, I’m hurting, I need help, like even asking for help was was a huge, huge deal for me. But again, I had I had a good support structure, even within my workplace environment to allow me to do that.
Yeah. And it is, it’s hard to ask for help, you know, because because you don’t want people to think you can’t handle it. All. Right. Right. Right. So asking for help is I know, I have a really hard time asking for help. But I’m getting better at it. Yeah. But it is, it’s hard to reach out, it’s hard to ask for help. Because you’re afraid that someone will maybe think of you as less than or incapable or whatever, you know, all those bad things that spin around in your head, right?
Or just that if they’re thinking about asking you to help out with something that you really want to do, they’re not going to ask you anymore, right? Like, you know, and kind of where I’m at as a as an associate professor trying to rise to the professor level in a couple of years, trying to take a larger leadership role in our curriculum, there was definitely a fear of well, wow, if I tell them that I can’t handle what I’ve got right now. There’s no way they’re going to ask me to do X, Y, or Z. So do I risk doing that? Or do I just drown? And I wasn’t willing to drown? No, no, no job is worth that. My personal happiness was not worth that. And again, fortunately, everybody was very understanding the the fear that I had built up in my head was no near nowhere near what I experienced at all. Like it wasn’t there. They were like, You know what, we get it. Take the time that you need, it’s fine. We’ll figure it out. And we’ll help you figure it out. We’ll give you whatever resources you need, whatever support you need. So it was wonderful. It’s really wonderful.
Yeah. And it’s so important to kind of voice that because like you said, you’re trying to kind of climb up this academic ladder. So if you never voiced that maybe you would never, you would never reach that Professor level. because you would have burned out left. Absolutely. Yeah. Right. So why not put those fears out there and and find the things that like not to use Marie Kondo here. I don’t know if you know Marie Kondo she’s so Marie Kondo is like this organizational guru. And her thing is if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. Yeah. And so I wrote that down when you were talking about how, you know, anatomy lab, not for me doesn’t bring me joy. This does. So I’m sticking with this. And and what you find is when you do the things that bring you joy, this sort of Marie Kondo method, I mean, she doesn’t like, you know, does this shirt bring you joy? And if it doesn’t know, this book, this, you know, tchotchke, whatever it is, but you can you can apply those principles, I think, in this scenario, when deciding what to say yes, and what to say no to? And even if you have nothing else on your plate at the moment, you can still say
no, sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. Right.
You can still say no, and that’s okay. Absolutely, well, this oh my god, I’m so glad that we talked about this is so good. So let’s, let’s talk about now, I would love to get from you, maybe two or three pieces of advice that you would give to a clinician who’s trying to break into the world of academia. Yeah,
so, um, I think with with clinicians, the first thing is that you’ve, you’ve got to know what your, what kind of teaching you want to do, right. So like, if you’re, if you’re an orthopedic just being happy with, I’ll take any orthopedic class, that could take you from going geometry and manual muscle testing, to examination and treatment kind of thing. So knowing sort of what level you want to be involved in helps. Because when you’re then approaching the education division director of a program, that’s usually who you send your resume or your CV to, when you’re interested, they can have a better idea of whether there’s a need honestly, in the in the curriculum, for another lab assistant for another lecture, if there are certain topics that you know very well, that you are passionate about, that he would love to lecture on. I’m even offering that up, like, hey, you know, I have a special interest in blood flow restriction training, but I’d love to be able to share that with your students. You know, this is my experience and background with that, let me know if there’s there’s any any availability for that, I think that’s that’s another part of it. I do think that it is, um, it is nice if you have a connection to the school, I mean, obviously, like, I got fortunate, I graduated from Washington at school, I’m now in faculty here. So I already had a connection to the program, it made it easier for me to get my foot in the door, because they already knew me as a student. And then as a clinician, because I was in the area. I do believe it is harder when you don’t have those connections. But that’s where I think networking in general is huge, right? So like you and I, we met through the Twitter verse, and then of course in Vancouver, but like making connections because people that you connect with have connections elsewhere, right. And they might know, just in talking to you. They might say, Oh, wait, I remember Sylvia said that they were looking for X, Y or Z at their at Wash U, maybe you should reach out and talk to her and see if there’s anything going on. You know, I think connections are the other part that that people value, but you don’t necessarily value maybe as much as you should. As a clinician, I think I take for granted that. And I don’t know, if you feel the same way, we travel a lot, we get to go to a lot of conferences, we get to get a lot of all these pre COVID, we went to a lot of conferences. And that’s where a lot of the networking happened, right. Clinicians do have to take continuing education in order to keep their their licenses active. But I feel like clinicians are probably taking the cheap local easy place near them to take on it because they don’t probably have the benefit, always a funding behind it like I do at an academic institution. And I think that’s, you know, you do what you have to do, but finding other ways to network, whether it’s through your state organization, like the Missouri Physical Therapy Association here, through the national organization through some of the sections like sports section, ortho section, you know, getting involved that way to make connections, you don’t have to attend conferences to do this, but you can get involved. I mean, everything’s through zoom right now, you know, and so being involved that way to make connections can get you in the door in other ways. And I think that’s probably an underappreciated part of the whole, how do I get my foot in the door?
Yeah, I would agree with that. And I love all the options that you just gave for clinicians and even students who are thinking, hey, one day I want to do both. Sure, right. So let’s know what kind of teaching you want to do. Reach out to people in the school if you have a connection if you don’t have a connection start making those connections. Absolutely right. And as a student, I think connecting through whether it’s a PTA in general, or the components or your state is a great way to do that. And I would also say, stay in touch with the with your professors.
100% 100%. Yeah, I mean, and your clinical instructors as well, I mean, for me, my first job coming out of PT school, was because I went back to talk to one of my clinical instructors, and she’s like, Hey, by the way, we have a job opening, would you be interested in applying? And I said, Oh, I’m not sure. And she goes, Well, I already submitted your name. And literally, that’s how I landed, my first job was like, Okay, well, I guess I have to like, contact them now. So it was great. Yeah.
Yeah. I love it. I love it. Okay, so now, as we start to kind of wrap things up, is there anything that maybe we didn’t hit in the conversation that you came in? Like, ooh, I definitely want to talk about this. Did we miss anything?
The one thing I will say is, is being on faculty, what did help me was naturally meshing and getting myself a mentor on the faculty. So not all academic institutions, like I know why she didn’t have it at the time. They didn’t really have like sort of a mentoring program for new faculty joining. And I don’t know if this is true for all academic institutions. But for anybody that’s interested in doing that, or joining an academic institution, as a clinician, academic, or as a researcher academic, is understanding if there is some kind of mentoring program because without the guidance of my mentor, Marcy Harris, Hayes, there is no way I’d be where I was at today, Marcy was like, kind of like my voice of reason, she was the one that was just like, Okay, you your interests are like humongous Sylvia, you need to narrow it down a little bit, you cannot keep saying yes to everything. She was the one that pushed me in certain directions, because she knew that a gentle nudge would help me get to where I wanted to be, even if I didn’t want to take that leap for myself. If I was doubting myself, she would be the one that would say, you can you can do this. She was the first person that put me in front of a crowd of 300 people at CSM. So I have a lot to say, and I never would have, I genuinely never would have done that without for encouragement. And her understanding that I was ready for it. As well as it was something that was going to help me in the future. And that I’d appreciate it later on down the line versus my fear, again, of doing it on my own, would have prevented me from getting that far. So so definitely identifying a mentor. And again, this is for clinicians, even to in the clinic, like don’t go into a clinic, and just expect to just learn it all just on your own or through Con Ed guy, I would hope that whatever clinic somebody joins into, has some kind of mentoring program as well. So that you can learn you can shadow you can get experience from other people. And it’s different than just being able to say to your your pod mate, hey, I had this patient that was a little complicated. What do you think like truly having a mentor, I think is a big, big thing. To help enhance the level of clinician you are as well as again, if you’re an academia, how to get up that level ladder and how to navigate it to I think that was the other thing Marcy gave me was some advice on how to how to get a little bit further because she was ranked ahead of me, and she had some great personal experience. Pros and cons, I guess you could say, to navigate that.
I love it. I think that’s great advice. And I love how you said not only get up the ladder, but navigate it as well. Right? Because there’s a lot of things that are gonna push and pull you along each rung of that ladder. Absolutely. So I think that’s amazing advice. Okay, where can people find you if they need a mentor? Or they have questions?
Yeah, so Twitter’s the easiest place. So I think you’ve got my contact information, but I am on Twitter, and an email is perfectly fine as well. So they can find my email address just to the washi website. Or really, if you just Google my name, it’s pretty impossible to miss. There’s not that many Soviet coupons out in the world. There’s none, in fact, so it’s pretty easy to find me I come up readily on a Google search.
Excellent. And we will have all the all of those links in the show notes. And now I have a question that I asked everyone at the end, but you already answered it, but I’m gonna ask it again. And that’s what advice would you give to your younger self?
Yeah, totally. My younger self would be learn how to say no, and how to prioritize what you really want to do. prioritize what’s going to make you happy. What’s going to make you the clinician, the person that you wanted to be when you grew up, you know, because if you sacrifice what you want for what everybody else wants, you’re not going to be happy. Perfect, I
love it. Thank you so much. I appreciate this conversation so much. I appreciate you for coming on. This was wonderful. So thank you so much.
Yeah, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be on I appreciate it
too, of course, and hopefully we will see each other in person soon. That
would be fantastic. Indeed, indeed. All right, and everyone,
thank you so much for listening, have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.