By: Mathew Hilton, MS, SPT
University of Delaware Physical Therapy Class of 2017
The Spring semester is here and as pre-PT clubs begin to elect new leaders, the leaders will also need to plan new events for their members. As someone who has worked with many pre-PT clubs across the country, I can tell you that many clubs face similar issues.
A big issue for most clubs is planning informative, yet fun and engaging events to attract members to their meetings. Here are some suggestions to help you plan unique and meaningful events for your pre-physical therapy club members:
1. Organize a Tour of a PT Setting
Your meetings don’t need to simply be in a classroom. Why not organize your group to visit a local PT practice? This doesn’t need to be an outpatient PT clinic. Expand your knowledge about the profession and inquire about touring a local skilled nursing facility (SNF), hospital or inpatient rehabilitation center.
By touring the facility, you may also start discussing opportunities to volunteer or work as an aide in their setting. Cast a wide net because these facilities are very busy and may not be able to accommodate too large of a group.
2. Take a Group Fitness Class
If you aspire to become a PT, you must be familiar with how people move. Unfortunately, most PT schools don’t have time to explain how every different athlete or worker moves in their daily life. The best way to learn how different people move is to try the movements yourself!
Take advantage of your university’s local gym and enroll in a group class together. Try to organize a variety of different classes that may include: yoga, pilates, cycling, dance, martial arts and more. If these classes are not available at your university gym, network with a student club that practices one of these activities and coordinate a joint meeting.
3. Collaborate with a Local PT Program
Physical therapists generally want to support the learning and growth of the next generation of physical therapists. Try reaching out to your university’s DPT program (or a local DPT program) and brainstorm an event that would create collaboration between DPT students and pre-PT students.
Ask if the DPT students would be willing to introduce palpation, manual skills or some special tests to your members. Maybe you can volunteer your members to help out with DPT practicals or service events. If you make the initial contact and begin to propose ideas, the program will be more likely to work something out for your club.
4. Visit a DPT Program’s Cadaver Lab
Not every university is lucky enough to have a cadaver lab that is accessible for undergraduates. If your school does not have a widely accessible cadaver lab, then you can also ask DPT programs if they’d be willing to give your members a tour or a demonstration.
Cadaver lab is commonly one of the first classes you take in PT school and having some previous experience in a cadaver lab will definitely be advantageous when you start school. Alternatively, if you find that you cannot handle being in a cadaver lab, then you will want to know that when you apply to DPT programs. By knowing this, you can consciously decide to apply to programs that don’t have a cadaver lab or that require minimal dissection responsibilities.
5. Invite a Speaker
Of course, you can always invite a speaker: admissions officers to DPT programs, current PTs and student PTs are all logical choices. Be sure to find clinicians and students who work in a variety of settings so that you can have a balanced perspective of the PT profession. Though outpatient PT is the most common setting, there is so much more out there to learn and explore.
Has your Pre-PT club ever tried any of these ideas? Comment below about the experience! Does your Pre-PT club need a speaker for a meeting? Contact us here!