Meet Chelsea Patton, a Student Pursuing Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Education
Dreams & Aspirations of a Student Physical Therapist Pursuing Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Education
I pursued the physical therapy field because I feel a duty to help people live their best life. The more I learn about women’s health the more I’m drawn to helping enhance the human experience of this population by specializing after graduating in 2019 from my Doctor of Physical Therapy program at University of Michigan-Flint.
I am passionate about pelvic health, believe I have the soft skills required to be successful and see a need for more skilled clinicians. I am interested in how impairments in this aspect of the core impacts participation. I also see the social influence of fear and embarrassment on preventing awareness or education to the public and medical field.
I intimately understand how the long-term impact of the lack of identification and access to treatment can have on quality of life. Professionally, every physical therapist I meet, who practices in women’s health, is excellent. Despite this, I see a public issue with lack of access due to insurance, awareness, education and disproportionate patient to therapist ratios.
I live close to a town with multiple specialty clinics that have waiting periods of months. A half hour from there, the Planned Parenthood had no idea, before my contact, where to refer their pelvic health patients. As an ally, I have attended transgender support groups where individuals are saving to pay cash for surgeries and have never heard of pelvic floor or pelvic health physical therapy. My professional goals are to provide skilled physical therapy and advocate for pelvic health.
I will be attending the Section on Women’s Health Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 course which will allow me to participate in the special affiliation terminal clinical I’ve set up to gain experience for employment post graduation.
Finding an educational foundation as a student physical therapist on women’s health has been a challenge. My main source has been information provided by members of the Section on Women’s Health and APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). 2019 will be my second year attending CSM specifically for the Section on Women’s Health sessions. I have recently become a member of the SoWH and look forward to participation while my education progresses.