Three physical therapy faculty were recently interviewed on the November 2020, feature story in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) magazine (the signature membership publication of the APTA) on “Understanding and Avoiding Burnout.”
Physical therapy faculty members — Gail Jensen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, professor and dean of the Graduate School and College of Professional Studies, Michelle Reilly, PT, DPT, OCS, assistant professor and Jessica Niski, PT, DPT, assistant professor — were quoted about teaching resilience, empowering students as leaders and guiding their students to avoid burnout.
Reilly and Niski both spoke in regards of encouraging students to take care of themselves, to avoid burnout. A credo of Ignatian values is cura personalis, which means to care for the whole person.
Niski says, “I can’t tell you how many students I’ve had in my office as an academic advisor who are struggling, and when I ask them, ‘What are you doing to take care of yourself?’ I find out that they’re sacrificing all of those things. I have to tell them ‘It’s essential — not just important — that you take care of yourself.”
Reilly agreed. “Honestly, my biggest piece of advice to first-year students was ‘Go to the gym. Go work out. Go do something that isn’t school,’ so that when it’s time for school you can be fully ready and present.”
Jensen spoke about how the program develops physical therapy students who are resilient and able to make judgments in uncertain conditions through self-reflection and self-evaluation as “the hallmark of a professional.” The physical therapy program embraces learning as lifelong pursuit which aid in avoiding burnout.