Physical Therapy in Portland
Three weeks ago, four of my classmates and I had the opportunity to attend the National Student Conclave in Portland, Oregon. As Mercer-Marquette Challenge representatives for the University of Pittsburgh, we were offered the opportunity to travel and participate in this conference, which is solely focused on student PTs and PTAs. While at the conference we attended several different sessions that focused on various areas of physical therapy, student leadership, and professional development.
There were courses on navigating our post-professional career and residency options, keeping our foot out of our mouth as new PTs, building a career in travel PT, adaptive sports, lymphedema, and how a beer changed one PT’s life. There were many courses to choose from and there was something that piqued each of our interests during each workshop session. Along with the talks, there was an exhibit hall with recruiters from across the country. We spent time each day in the exhibit hall talking with different companies and finding out which groups might be a good fit for each of us when we graduate. I was fortunate enough to have a connection with a company from the exhibit hall and just had a follow up phone call with them to discuss options as I near graduation.
In addition to the conference, there were several opportunities for us to get out and explore Portland. Portland’s motto is “Keep Portland Weird”, and the city did not disappoint. There was a PT Pub night the first night of the conference that supported the Mercer-Marquette Challenge and ended up being an excellent opportunity to network as well. Also, we attended a PT PAC party the next evening that supported the PT political action committee, which advocates for our profession at the federal level. The evening after the conference was over, we were able to take time to check out Rogue Brewery and have dinner across town. We also took time to explore the cultural district and took a ride up a gondola to get a view of the city.
The trip was an excellent blend of professional development and exploration of a new city. I encourage any student PTs to consider attending the conference in the future as a way to enhance your networking skills as well as a chance to explore the world of physical therapy outside of school.