As part of their studies, the students took part in 16-weeks of clinical education in order to experience working with patients in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities, said Tere Karella, faculty member and clinical coordinator for the program.
“Students are assigned a clinical instructor who oversees the student during clinical rotations. These clinical instructors are physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who are not paid to be instructors. They volunteer their time with students because they believe in the future of physical therapy. Our program would not be in existence if it wasn’t for these clinicals.”
The Northeast PTA program worked with over 40 facilities, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants across the United States, most of which are in Nebraska during the students’ clinical rotation.
Laura Schwanebeck, PTA program director and instructor, said the bar was set high for these students.
“I set the bar very high for them, and they all rose to the occasion. Not only did they hit it that bar, they surpassed it! I know that there have been a lot of late nights studying; a lot of tests and quizzes; a lot of practicals, homework, presentations, service learning projects, interprofessional education workshops, field trips, and more. But in that time, the class has become a family and they have all helped each other become successful.”
Also during the ceremony, Andrea Suhr, faculty member and PTA Club supervisor, outlined the number of meetings, fundraisers, and service learning projects the students took part in over the past year.
Lindsey (Grim) Chapman, who graduated from the Northeast PTA program in 2014 and is now employed at Jacobsen Therapy Services in Norfolk, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
She told the students to not get discouraged when things may not go their way in work and life.
“If you are sitting there right now thinking that there is this expectation that you are required to know everything … it’s not reality that everything is perfect. There is this thing out there called ‘failure.’
“But I like to think that failure is a like a precursor to success. Some people need to go through failure to learn how to succeed.”
Chapman encouraged the students to be the best that they can be and be proud of their educational journey.
“All of the sacrifices you have made to get to this spot are so worth it.”
Kristin Trenhaile, Palmer, PTA program student president, said the ceremony marks a bittersweet end to the students’ work at Northeast.
“My classmates and I have waited many days, took many quizzes, exams, and practicals to get to this day. To my class, good luck and I hope you find what you are looking for.”
Other PTA officers this year were Kelsie Higgins, Wynot, vice president, Jamie Norton, West Point, secretary, Benjamin Garcia, Norfolk, treasurer, and Bridgette Jackson, Daykin, and Courtney Labenz, Columbus, historians.
Other members of the Class of 2018 include Michael Curtis, Clearwater; Kendall Gamble, Wayne; Mikayla Hoefelman, Columbus; Jami Jaeger, Winside; Kayla Johnson, Grand Island; Brandi Kaup, Stuart; Tyler Kuester, West Point; Steven Mendez, Grand Island; Leah Sawtell, Dixon; Erin Soderstrum, Boone; Lexi Sokol, Wayne; Kendra Staab, Broken Bow; Timothy Wegner, Bancroft; and Hannah Zeeb, O’Neill.
Members of the 2018 Northeast Community College physical therapist assistant program recite the Professional Physical Therapy Pledge before family and friends during a special recognition ceremony in the Lifelong Learning Center this week.