Falsone Forges as First Female Pro Trainer

Sue FalsoneIn late October, the L.A. Dodgers hired Sue Falsone as their head physical therapist. This marked a profound shift in gears, as head positions in athletic organizations have traditionally been a male-dominated field of work.

Falsone has already served as consultant to the baseball team since 2007, but traveling with a team of all-male athletes used to training with an all-male staff brings up questions of gender issues that are not unlike ones often examined by PhD candidates in woman’s studies programs. Will the team respect her as their PT and consider her to a team member, not a female outsider? How will overnight travel with Sue affect the team, individually and as a whole? Will she be able to relate to a male-only team regarding physical issues? How will emotions play into the “game?”

Fortunately, Falsone is well-aware of the dynamics within her organization and has made huge strides in garnering the respect of the team. According to an ESPN article, “the players made her feel like part of the team right from the start”. While some have considered her gender as a potential problem for the team, she brings with her past success of reducing team injuries and has already proven herself capable of strong and efficient management to the team as a consultant.

Falsone was inspired by her aunt at a young age to work in physical therapy. Raised in New York into a traditional Italian family, she quickly learned to become self-motivated and a hard-worker. In 1996, Sue Falsone graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy from Daemon University. She directed a private training organization in Tempe, Arizona (Performance Physical Therapy of Athletes Performance), where many pro leagues sent athletes for sports training. Noticed for her successes and innovative techniques, she seemed to possess something special the Dodgers capitalized on.

Acting president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Marje Albohm told the LA Times that this promotion for Falsone marks the beginning of the next frontier for women and that the appointment evolved in a very natural way. Albohm hopes that this event will allow women to be viewed as legitimate candidates for jobs that have traditionally been heavily dominated by men.

Falsone’s appointment is pivotal in allowing women to take up a more visible part in sporting events. Falsone’s focus, not on herself as a woman, but as a trainer is quite a natural style for her. She contends that integrating traditional physical therapy with conditioning and strength training in a holistic manner provides the best training for athletes to excel.

Although Falsone’s promotion has sent ripples through the sports management world, the promotion couldn’t seem any more natural for anyone who’s aware of her expertise in physical therapy. Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this event shouldn’t be about how stunning it was for a woman to be hired in a prominent sports management position, but instead how merit is becoming the new standard for a line of work heavily skewed by gender.

Guest Author: Jessica Bosari for Allied Health World – Young PTs Choose Travel

Mature Man Working With a Physical TherapistMedical students have many career paths open to them. Many young people are not prepared for the lengthy and arduous training required to be physicians, but medical careers like physical therapy make a lot of sense. Students can earn their degrees and begin work once they receive their masters’ degrees.

More Freedom, More Pay, More of the World

Traveling physical therapists enjoy higher pay, plus the ability to travel and see the country. Some travel with friends, staying on assignment for 13 weeks, and then picking up another assignment in another location. Many couples meet while in Physical therapy training, get married, and then take traveling assignments until they feel ready to have children. This lets them see the country, broaden their horizons, an meet new people, all while earning an excellent income that pays off their medical schooling costs sooner.

A Smart Foundation for the Future

By traveling in their younger years, physical therapists set themselves up for a stable, steady future. The extra money helps them pay off debt and save for a home. When they find a place to settle down, they can still work travel physical therapy assignments, limited to a smaller geographical area. Some may even seek per diem work, giving them more control over how far they need to travel for work.

PTA or PT, Both are Excellent Opportunities

The top pay for physical therapists just out of school who decide not to travel is around $45 per hour. However, those who are willing to travel to places like Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and other states can make $60 to $80 per hour. Those who decide to pursue physical therapy careers without a Master’s degree can work as physical therapy assistance and make as much as $35 per hour plus food and housing expenses. Although traveling is not for everyone, those willing to do so will enjoy many benefits.

Six myths about traveling physical therapy

bigfootThere are some sommon myths out there about the quality of jobs available to travel PTs. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Travel Physical Therapy Myth 1 – You only work in the worst locations

One of them is that traveling physical therapy jobs are available for a reason, which means they are in undesirable locations that no one could possibly want to work in. One fourm post I saw on this recently went like this:

“You will get assignment in the least desirable areas, where most PT don’t want to work consistently.  There are reasons in places where most PT wouldn’t want to work.” See the whole discussion here.

The fact is most open physical therapy jobs, permanent or contract exist because there is a shortage of physical therapists thanks to an aging baby boomer population and the number of PTs coming out of school just can’t keep up with the demand, not because it is a less exciting location.

Travel Physical Therapy Myth 2 – You will have too high of a workload

Now the workload of the facility may in fact be more, but that is why they need a traveler. As soon as you get there it will go down right? The truth is that often a traveler is just being used during times when a perm staff is out for an extended period of time, like maternity leave or the hospital or skilled nursing facility has just seen a temporary rise in patient levels and know they do not need to hire a permanent PT or PTA to cover the increase since it will be short-lived.

Travel Physical Therapy Myth 3 – You will not get paid well

As far as pay goes the fact is the pay for traveling physical therapists and pay for traveling physical therapists assistant is in most cases more than (with equal or better benefits) to a permanent position.

Travel Physical Therapy Myth 4 – You have to work miles from home

There are open Physical Therapy jobs all over the country and you only take assignments you want to go, traveling physical therapy companies can’t just send you to an assignment and force you to work there. It is entirely up to you where you go. So the chances of finding great contract jobs in your area are very good.

Travel Physical Therapy Myth 5 – You have to sign a year long contract

Most travel therapy companies only require you to sign a contract for the assignment you are on, after the assignment is over you can do whatever you want, sign on for another contract, go back to a perm position, start your own practice, go hike for a year, whatever. It is up to you.

Travel Physical Therapy Myth 6 – You can only work 13 week contracts

The typical assignment length is 13 weeks, but that is more based on tradition and habit than need and many facilities would actually prefer longer contracts for traveling PTs. In fact some can last as long as a year, it just depends on each situation, but 13 weeks is not a hard and fast rule.

Why should you consider a travel therapy job?

This video (even though she works for a competitor) is a great explanantion of why a travel therapy job is a great idea for young therapists. Give it a watch.

Travel Therapy Salary – Is it really more?

Whether you are just starting out in your therapy career or have been working for twenty years a short-term travel contract can be a great option for you. One of the best parts of a travel therapy job is the chance it gives you to make more money than you would in a permanent position. The question though is how much is the difference. That’s why over the next 5 weeks we will be doing a 5 five part series on the pay for travel therapists versus a permanent therapy or rehab position.physical therapist realizing she is out of money

Here is the schedule of the posts:

Travel Physical Therapy (PT) Salary
Travel Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) Salary
Travel Occupational Therapy (OT) Salary
Travel Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Salary
Travel Speech Therapy (SLP) Salary

So check back to see your specialty’s post. To make it easy you can subscribe to the Rehab and Therapy Jobs.com RSS feed here.

9 tips for writing your resume for your therapy career

In a competitive job market a well written and smartly constructed resume is crucial. As a speech language, physical or occupational therapist or therapist assistant your resume has a few industry specific things it should have that will help you or your therapy staffing company find you the best short-term / travel therapy jobs available. Here is a quick overview that should help you build a resume that will get you the job you want.

1. Do your research
Take the time to look through job descriptions online and see what skills, experience, credentials and characteristics they are looking for in a candidate. This will help you take stock of where you are in relation and what areas you are strong in and what areas you need to improve in. This also helps you cater your resume to the current needs of the industry and highlight them prominently on your resume.
2. Sum up your strengths
A summary of your qualifications that includes your biggest strengths and best qualifications should be the first thing (other than your name and contact info) on your resume. Some things to include are your degrees, certifications, your years of experience, specialty expertise, and the types of patients you have worked with in the past or personality traits.

3. Look at your resume from an employer’s point of view
An employer, whether it is a hospital, skilled nursing facility or travel therapy staffing company, is going to want to see not only what you have done at your past jobs, but how well you did them. So make sure to highlight areas where you made contributions and list specific results as often as you can.

4. Be detailed
This is especially important in the work history area of your resume. Some examples of things to include are:

• The types of settings you worked in
• Examples of success with patients
• The type of caseloads you handled
• The kinds of treatments and modalities you have experience with
• Any overall program improvements you had a part in
• Any recognition or performance awards you have received

5. Be accurate
Typos or inaccuracies in your resume can be the death sentence of your job search. So take the extra time to proofread and spell check. One good way to do this is to finish it up and revisit a week later. This way you will see things that your mind can subconsciously overlook if you edit too soon after writing. And of course have someone else look over it.

6. Show your passion for the field
Including any volunteering or associations you are a part of is an easy way to show that therapy is more than a paycheck for you. It is also a great way to develop and show off any skills, such as leadership and management, that you may not get to develop in your full-time position.

7. Use industry keywords
If your resume is going to be in a resume database, like Monster or CareerBuilder or MedicalWorkers.com, then including a wide variety of industry keywords that an employer searching through the resumes would look for is important. So for instance you would not want to use PT through the whole thing and not mention Physical Therapist. You need to have the keywords in there that an employer is going to use, so again researching the way they are writing job ads will help here.

8. Be targeted
If you are submitting your resume to a travel therapy company they can help focus it for you for a short-term or travel therapy position, but as a general rule each resume you write should be targeted for that position. It doesn’t take long and will help your resume stand out.

9. Use the 15-second review
An employer will have a lot of resumes to look through so you only get about 10-20 seconds for yours to stand out and entice them to read more. You can do that by using this little checklist:

  • Is your resume clean, easy to read and follow and does it invite the employer to read it?
  • Does it have a good summary of qualifications that targets the position you want?
  • Are your accomplishments described in detail in the work history?
  • Do you have keywords and phrases used throughout the document.
  • Do you list your work history in an easy to read, yet detailed, style with a through description of your jobs in the last 10-15 years and a more condensed style for the jobs 15 years or older?
  • Do you have a section that highlights your education, professional development (workshops, seminars, or other job related training), and other professional certifications, publications, etc.?
  • Do you lay out your clinical skills and background in an easy to scan format?

Remember that a good resume is the most basic, but most important part of your job search and needs to be a true indication of your skills, so follow these tips and don’t over or understate what you have done in your therapy career.