By Sandra Dias
At the Physical Therapist Assistant Seminar last week, the Admissions Counselor, Ben Laudicina, spoke about what students need to do to be accepted into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program here at Suffolk County Community College. Many of those who were at the seminar were not students here at Suffolk but are potential students who plan on applying to the program.
“Helping people help themselves is what Physical Therapy is about”, said Ben Laudicina, the Admissions Counselor of PTA here at the Ammerman Campus. He talked about the prerequisites that needed to be completed prior to applying. “You need to be able to focus and work hard and put in a lot of effort if you want to excel in the program”, said Laudicina.
Those who attended the seminar asked questions like, “is there a waitlist?”, “what is the employment rate after graduation?”, “how many people end up graduating from the program?”, “will I be able to work while attending this program?”. “Yes there is a waitlist. A class holds 26 students. They accept students up until the first day of classes in January. Employment rate for the past three years have been 100 percent within six months of taking the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination). The percentage of students that graduate the program has decreased. In 2010, 62.96 percent graduated, in 2011, 62.06 percent graduated, and in 2012, 60.71 percent graduated”, said Laudicina. “I suggest either taking the two years off or working very minimally. Rule of thumb is two hours of study time for every hour of lecture and two hours of practice for each week in lab”, said Laudicina.
Suffolk’s PTA graduates become licensed healthcare providers, are part of a healthcare team, can be found in multiple health care settings such has hospitals, nursing facilities, rehab centers. They perform the multifaceted roles of clinician and patient advocate, and may specialize and achieve Advanced Clinical Proficiency recognition from the American Physical Therapy Association.
He informed us that the students must posses certain physical, observational, behavioral, communication, and critical thinking abilities to meet the full requirements to the program’s curriculum and graduate.
To be a great physical therapist, you need motor capabilities to execute the movements required to provide safe and effective physical therapy interventions, the ability to observe and respond to changes in patient status in clinical situations by obtaining information through observation, auscultation, and palpation. You also need to tolerate close physical contact, behave in an expected manner in the clinical arena and develop therapeutic relationships. Exercise good judgment, interpret and synthesize information to perform in a safe, appropriate and expected manner. And most importantly effective and efficient communication to execute physical therapy interventions and interact with patients, families, and health care personnel.