Kristi Rocks DPT, CKTP is the 2015-2016 HSS Hand Therapy Fellow. Carol Page, PT, DPT, CHT is Senior Director at HSS Rehabilitation and directs the fellowship program. Questions about the program can be directed to Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol: Tell us a little about yourself and your interest in the specialty of Hand Therapy.
Kristi: I have practiced for quite some time in a variety of different settings that included sports, neurology, orthopedics and spine. Frequently, I would have an internal debate trying to decide which specialty I wanted to pursue for myself. Prosthetics and orthotics was an interest of mine since PT school. When I looked into the hand specialty I realized how much it encompassed orthotics and wound care (another interest of mine!). With some encouragement from friends and family that I could do this even after being out of school for almost 10 years, I enrolled in an online program dedicated to the hand and upper extremity.
Carol: Why did you apply for the HSS Hand Therapy Fellowship program?
Kristi: After I completed my online program, I had A LOT of knowledge that I had no idea how to apply. That is when I found out about the fellowship and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to practice everything I had learned about. HSS has an amazing reputation and a beautiful facility, so it was a win- win for me. The only difficult portion was taking a pay cut this far into my career, but my advice is that you can do ANYTHING for 9 months.
Carol: What have been the most valuable aspects of the program for you?
Kristi: The program as a whole is incredible. It is well rounded and very thorough, and I feel that it has adequately prepared me to sit for the CHT exam. My favorite aspects of the program would have to be the splint lab-you will never find a better splint than at HSS-as well as the OR observation and the conferences with the physicians. It pushes your knowledge base that much farther!
Carol: Where do you imagine yourself a year from now?
Kristi: I would like to be exclusively practicing in hand therapy in a similar academic setting. My goal at the moment is to become a REALLY good hand therapist, splinter and become the next Emily Altman, my program mentor.
Carol: Do you have any advice for therapists who want to specialize in hand therapy and are considering applying for the fellowship program?
Kristi: The best advice I could give (besides JUST DO IT!) would be to give yourself some time as a therapist before you decide on a specialty. You don’t have to wait 10 years, but find your identity as a therapist first. What do you love? Can you manage your time well? Have you explored more than one option? Keep in mind that “if you don’t leap you’ll never know what it is to fly.”