PTCAS (Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service) asks this question, seeming to be more about responding in a personal way than through academic or career achievements:
Use your own words to create a personal essay that includes responses to the question below. Some programs require an additional essay question. Visit the individual program pages for instructions.
•Which personal characteristics and motivating factors have led you to pursue the profession of physical therapy?
Here is my essay! I want to say thank you in advance to the dedicated and fine individuals commenting on other's essays providing constructive feedback, great work guys I hope I can do the same for others.
Being a physical therapist has been my career goal since I was a senior in high school. In my sophomore year of high school, I was very active, being on the wrestling team, hockey team, and weight lifting. I would go to wrestling practice Monday through Friday after school, then after wrestling practice sometimes I would go straight to hockey. On top of those two activities, I would weight lift 3-5 times a week. My personal transformation came late in my 15th year as I was getting non-resolvable shoulder pain which transcended into widespread muscle pain. As a teenager, having the doctors not be able to identify what was "wrong" with me made me more anxious which only made the pain worse. I also had to quit my participation in athletics that I cherished because I was so competitive. My grades in high school took a noticeable decline as I seemed to be too focused on the here and now aspect of life and not the beautiful diverse spectrum of dimensions that life offers. Eventually, I saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed it as Fibromyalgia. I struggled a little initially but I ended up doing the best thing I could have done for myself; I educated myself thoroughly on stress management, pain management and chronic illness and became fascinated in learning anything and everything pertaining to health maintenance and rehabilitation. Now, through the years of personal experience and education and I am nearly pain free and it no longer has any effect on my life because of the modifications I have made. I do yoga and stretch on a daily basis, and incorporate some therapeutic exercises in my routine.
What really confirmed my passion for physical therapy was being a patient myself. I have been admitted to physical therapy as a patient close to a dozen times, all except one visit because of sport-related injuries. Each visit to therapy I would ask questions stemmed from curiosity and would learn something new. I am enthralled with the physical art of healing and have become very compassionate when helping physical therapists treat patients by always attempting to see the patient's perspective and empathize with them. I am 100% confident I would make a great physical therapist because of my compassion and my unyielding desire for health education. I have concrete career goals as I am determined to be accepted into the DPT program and become a successful P.T., eventually specializing in orthopedics and/or neurology after receiving an entry-level degree. Learning is a journey rather than a destination and so I intend to stay well informed and knowledgeable about the most updated and innovative P.T. methods. I have placed myself in valuable situations giving myself exposure and experience to PT. I have worked as a PT technician in in-patient hospital care getting experience in geriatric, oncology, acute, ICU and neuralgic treatment. I also volunteered at a PT department in a hospital, job-shadowed at several out patient PT clinics and have been a patient numerous times myself. During my work at St. John Macomb-Oakland hospital and my observation hours at out patient clinics I was able to compare and contrast the similarities and differences. From my experience, hospital care was much more physically demanding (as the sheer frequency of less functional patients is higher) than out patient care and the therapists in the hospital had very firm time slots for treatments. I observed that therapists in out patient care seem to treat more patients per time slot, due to the fact that they can incorporate less manual therapy in treatment than a therapist can in a hospital since in-patient patients are typically more debilitated and demand more hands-on care.
It seems to me that I have never been so sure about anything in my life pertaining to my desire to be a physical therapist. I firmly believe it is what I was born to do, through my personal experiences and endeavors to better myself as a student, patient, employee and human being in general. I will continue to pursue my journey of physical therapy education and my passion for it will not be deterred, in spite of any obstacle presented to me.