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I am very thankful to have Megan Mobley back on the blog today as she discusses how her faith impacts her work as a PT school professor. She recently detailed some of her PT work in a burn unit and now has been gracious enough to answer similar questions but in regards to her new position in the world of academia. I hope you find it insightful and encouraging!
1. Where did you work? Describe your work population.
I recently (July 2021) became an assistant professor in the physical therapy program at Augusta University. My main responsibility is teaching second year Doctor of PT students in the following areas of PT: hospital-based, critical care, wound management, scar management, and neurological rehabilitation (acute, inpatient rehab and outpatient). I am also involved in serving the department on the Admissions and Student Affairs committee, and I will eventually be involved in research projects.
2. What do you enjoy about working as a faculty member at a PT school?
I love teaching! Practicing PT in a very specific area led me to a lot of teaching opportunities (continuing education courses, guest lecturing at PT schools, and traveling to new burn centers around the US). I love the hunger for knowledge that the DPT students have as well as their excitement for a career in physical therapy!
3. What are some of the unique physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges of teaching in a PT program?
Academia is quite different than practicing in the hospital/clinic. Each of the faculty have their individual agenda and responsibilities for the day. We are all spread out in our own offices, and I miss the days of several therapists gathering around the PT office in the hospital to share lunch together or tell jokes while we documented at the end of the day. The OT department is upstairs compared to me co-treating with an OT in the hospital. Other professions are mainly available through email for collaboration versus sharing a therapy office with other professions. We team teach our courses (usually with 1-2 other faculty members), so that helps me not feel as isolated. I want the students to succeed, and I have not had formal training in how to teach, so that puts some emotional pressure on myself to make sure that I am delivering the content well. In a few years, I will most likely pursue a Doctor of Education degree (EdD).
4. How does your faith impact your work and how you view your student/colleague interactions?
Being in this position is very humbling. PT school was a difficult time for me. It was the first time when I struggled in school and really had to fight for something that I wanted. It is quite humbling to be on the other side of the desk. I want to support the students as best as I can with their academic needs as well as their emotional needs. They are not just PT students – they have lives outside of school, which sometimes adds stress to an already stressful chapter of their lives. When a student has to retake a written or practical test, I want them to know that I want to use this opportunity to bring them up to speed on specific material that they had trouble grasping initially. I always try to ease their anxiety and stress level, and let them know that I am here to support them!
I also do not take this opportunity for granted. The opportunities that I have had in my PT career to specialize in a very specific area of PT, and work for a hospital company with burn centers around the country, provided me with countless experiences and helped develop the skills that I need to teach these physical therapy students.
5. Briefly describe a story in which you really felt like you ministered to either a student or colleague patient and their family.
Since beginning last summer, I have had two students cry in my office. They were so stressed out about school and other personal factors that it led them to shed tears. I just sat and listened. I wanted to be sure that they felt heard and their feelings were validated. It is important that we see them as people with other responsibilities and relationships outside of this department. These interactions bring back memories of when I was a student, and my professor did the same for me. I am so thankful that the Lord led me here to be there for current PT students!
***Check out my book "Rehab the World" written for Physical Therapists to encourage us in our workplace and prepare us to serve those around us. If you like, please leave a review and spread the word!!***