Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.
On Wednesday night at 9PM EST, the students of physical therapy once again convened to discuss the topic of the week- Student Mentorship. Some questions raised were ‘does your DPT program have an organized mentorship/buddy program?’ and ‘how has this helped you? Are you a mentor to someone in a class below you? What do you do help them and motivate them?’ Looks like many schools engage in a structured mentorship program with 1st and 2nd year students, much like we have at the University of Pittsburgh. Like us, those ‘upper classmen’ can assist incoming grad students with everything from housing and book recommendations to test strategies and clinical advice. Without question, all who experienced this mentorship during the transition from undergrad to graduate studies were very appreciative of having the guiding hand from those who have been there before. Considering this, it raises an interesting question regarding the next step in mentorship- after graduation!
From 3rd Year to Real-World
The conversation quickly evolved into mentorship during the next transition we’ll all experience, from 3rd year to licensed practitioner. Of course, we’ve all developed meaningful and lasting relationships between some of the upper classmen and faculty, but nearly all who participated in the #DPTstudent chat claimed their university lacked a formal mentorship program for new grads. This is surprising considering the value we place in having this experience while starting school; why the lack of mentorship upon finishing? Many students also reported being coached into formally incorporating mentorship into their first jobs with blocked hours set aside to discuss difficult patients with seasoned clinicians. However, there were also stories about promises left unkept and facilities lacking time to provide the guidance to new hires.
Start of Something New?
What might be a good solution is to start compiling an alumni database that contains information regarding the graduating classes from the past 5 years. Then, when graduates from the University of Pittsburgh seek advice in a particular area of practice or region of the United States, the faculty can pair them with an appropriate mentor. This would strengthen our alumni network and 3rd year experience- hopefully bettering the practice of both in the process. Who knows, maybe this #DPTstudent chat has led to the start of something new?
Last Wednesday was the inaugural Twitter #DPTstudent chat. With a phenomenal turnout, students from across the country discussed the reason they were inspired to join the PT community in the first place. From great mentorship to Body World exhibitions, I was impressed by the expanse of catalysts that have encouraged our national student body into this field. Following this discussion, the enthusiasm of the group was almost palpable. The residual Twitter buzz spoke only of the excitement for the next prompt for our #DPTstudents to tackle.
The support that has since been generated between students, faculty, and PTs around the country has also made me look forward to the Combined Sections Meeting in January. Since there was such a strong response to #DPTstudent chat, I can only anticipate the positive reaction to our next project: Log n’ Blog. ‘Tis the season for New Years Resolutions and school spirit, and Log n’ Blog is the perfect combination of both. The Foundation for PT is inviting students (faculty and family members!) to participate in a student-driven fundraiser.
Let’s start with the basics. The one thing we all have in common and agree on is that we all want to be successful physical therapists. Why? What made you decide to go down that path? Have you known since high school or were you a few years into a career when you made the decision? We invite you to share your story and hear the stories of others on the topic that unites us all. Mark your calendars for November 28th at 9pm EST!