Apr 11, 2016
24
6
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Hey, I'm a pre-pt student who is about a year away from applying to PT schools. I met with my academic advisor recently, and she told me that all my stats and observation/shadowing hours look good but that I should really try to get some research experience or hours. I don't think I'm particularly interested, but I'm not opposed because I know it would be a valuable experience. I just don't like the idea of doing literature reviews and writing papers. I'm more geared towards actually interacting with people and getting to observe actual physical therapy. So I have a choice this semester as to whether I should shadow at a physical therapy office (orthopedic, I already have over 150 hours in this type of setting) or to do research (spoke to my professor, and he said I would be doing literature reviews and basic stuff to help him out). I was just wondering which you thought would be the more valuable experience, and whether you think getting research hours is important (a few PTs I shadowed with told me that PT is moving largely towards research, so this may be advantageous for me). Any thoughts?
 

beyoutiful_sunshine

2+ Year Member
Dec 26, 2015
324
219
Huntsville, Tx
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Hello!

If I were you I would go with the research option. I'm currently working on my resume for one of the school I'm applying to and I wish I had research experience that I could put on there. You're trying to be the most well-rounded applicant that you can be, so having research experience is going to be a plus.
Another thing to consider is that doing research with that one professor will make you build a relationship with him and that might be helpful when later on you'll need an academic later of reference.
Plus, you can always use your winter and summer break to get more hour (make sure you get some inpatient hours too) whereas this might be the only time you'll be able to do research.
 

samMin95

2+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2016
14
4
Hey, I'm a pre-pt student who is about a year away from applying to PT schools. I met with my academic advisor recently, and she told me that all my stats and observation/shadowing hours look good but that I should really try to get some research experience or hours. I don't think I'm particularly interested, but I'm not opposed because I know it would be a valuable experience. I just don't like the idea of doing literature reviews and writing papers. I'm more geared towards actually interacting with people and getting to observe actual physical therapy. So I have a choice this semester as to whether I should shadow at a physical therapy office (orthopedic, I already have over 150 hours in this type of setting) or to do research (spoke to my professor, and he said I would be doing literature reviews and basic stuff to help him out). I was just wondering which you thought would be the more valuable experience, and whether you think getting research hours is important (a few PTs I shadowed with told me that PT is moving largely towards research, so this may be advantageous for me). Any thoughts?
Hey! First, do you have a good number of hours already? I'd recommend finding a way to doing both. I did research this past summer, helping a professor in a DPT program write a systematic literature review. At first, I hated the idea of reading research papers and especially the "writing" aspect, but it was definitely rewarding for me to see the "evidence" part of physical therapy, an "evidence"-based practice. Also, the professor was extremely kind and understanding that it was my first time doing research and really wanted me to gain a lot from the experience.

But, it'd be good for you in both the experience and as an applicant, because everyone is going to be getting observation hours (but you should still have a good amount of hours 100+ in many settings), but not many have research experience, so you'll stand out.

Good luck man!
 

samMin95

2+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2016
14
4
Ah, sorry was reading on my phone so I missed the fact that you already had 150 hours in that setting. Definitely go for the research, and just get the most out of it. Such an amazing opportunity, because you're being a part of something that could change the direction of practice! Also, like beyoutiful said, Winter and Summer, spend a lot of your time observing at multiple settings. I got in about 180 hours just in the past 2 months in 4 different settings, at the loss of a relaxing summer vacation, but personally feel it was all worth it!
 
Dec 25, 2015
7
3
Do Research!!! How do you know that you wouldn't be interested in research if you haven't even tried it? Even if it turns out that you don't like it, you'll gain an appreciation towards the evidence that you learn as a student PT. Observing clinicians will only get you so far when it comes learning about the profession.
I spent a year in a research lab at my university's PT department and it was easily the best experience I directed myself toward. The lab has a couple clinical studies functioning which involves individuals with chronic stroke and ALS. During my time there, I was able to interact a lot with the participants and I had the chance to work with phd/master students that have already completed their PT schooling. Additionally, reading journal articles could only benefit you since you will be dealing with that type of literature in grad school. You'll gain an understanding of the standards and expectations faculty professors will have when you're a student PT. I would strongly recommend it!
 
OP
K
Apr 11, 2016
24
6
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Hello!

If I were you I would go with the research option. I'm currently working on my resume for one of the school I'm applying to and I wish I had research experience that I could put on there. You're trying to be the most well-rounded applicant that you can be, so having research experience is going to be a plus.
Another thing to consider is that doing research with that one professor will make you build a relationship with him and that might be helpful when later on you'll need an academic later of reference.
Plus, you can always use your winter and summer break to get more hour (make sure you get some inpatient hours too) whereas this might be the only time you'll be able to do research.
Thanks for the advice! I was thinking the same thing in terms of building a relationship with the professor in order to potentially get a recommendation letter. Also yeah, I really need to get some inpatient hours. I've contacted nearly every hospital and nursing home in my surrounding area but no replies yet. Hopefully I can get that done soon. Again, thanks for the advice. I'm gonna go for the research!
 
OP
K
Apr 11, 2016
24
6
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Ah, sorry was reading on my phone so I missed the fact that you already had 150 hours in that setting. Definitely go for the research, and just get the most out of it. Such an amazing opportunity, because you're being a part of something that could change the direction of practice! Also, like beyoutiful said, Winter and Summer, spend a lot of your time observing at multiple settings. I got in about 180 hours just in the past 2 months in 4 different settings, at the loss of a relaxing summer vacation, but personally feel it was all worth it!
Yeah, I'm gonna opt for the research! Thanks for the advice. Also wow, that's really impressive with the shadowing hours! I have close to 200 hours but they're all outpatient (a few different settings), but I'm really trying to get some inpatient. Thanks again!
 
OP
K
Apr 11, 2016
24
6
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Do Research!!! How do you know that you wouldn't be interested in research if you haven't even tried it? Even if it turns out that you don't like it, you'll gain an appreciation towards the evidence that you learn as a student PT. Observing clinicians will only get you so far when it comes learning about the profession.
I spent a year in a research lab at my university's PT department and it was easily the best experience I directed myself toward. The lab has a couple clinical studies functioning which involves individuals with chronic stroke and ALS. During my time there, I was able to interact a lot with the participants and I had the chance to work with phd/master students that have already completed their PT schooling. Additionally, reading journal articles could only benefit you since you will be dealing with that type of literature in grad school. You'll gain an understanding of the standards and expectations faculty professors will have when you're a student PT. I would strongly recommend it!
That's a really good point! I think my main apprehension is that I have minimal experience researching and reading these types of scientific articles, but like you said that will be important come time for PT school. So yeah I'm going to go for the research. Thanks for the advice!