A Neligh woman was among 21 student recognized recently at a physical therapist assistant (PTA) program ceremony at Northeast Community College.
As part of their studies, the students took part in three clinical affiliations in order to experience working with patients in real life surroundings, according to Tere Karella, clinical coordinator for the program.
Jennifer Rudolf of Neligh, a recent graduate, was honored at the event.
“The clinical instructors assigned to the students volunteer their time to oversee the students during the clinical rotation. These clinical instructors are physical therapists, physical therapist assistants; some of them are graduates from the (Northeast) program,” Karella said. “These therapists have a special passion for the future of physical therapy and, therefore, help these students to enhance their education by giving them the opportunity to work with real patients. We could not have the high quality program that we do without the support of our clinical instructors.”
The Northeast PTA program has contracts with approximately 80 facilities across the United States, most of which are in Nebraska. These include hospitals, outpatient clinics and long-term care facilities.
Barb Engberg, a physical therapist and co-owner of Live Well Physical Therapy in Grand island, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. She previously practiced in Lincoln at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and then worked in New York City at New York University Medical Center where she founded and developed the Lymphedema and Women's Health Physical Therapy program.
Engberg told the students that they are entering an admirable profession.
“You can make a difference in people’s lives; you can be part of something really big. Be proud of your work. Be proud of your contribution in making other people’s lives better. You are now part of an amazing profession; there’s none other like it.”
Engberg calls the physical therapist assistant program at Northeast Community College the preeminent program in Nebraska. She said that her clinic’s three PTA’s all graduated from the Northeast program.
“They are, by far, the best PT Assistants that I have ever, ever worked with. I want you to know that you are coming from a rock solid, absolutely well respected program. In my opinion, it is honestly the best PT Assistant program in the state and in the region
Tatum Pitkin, St. Paul, PTA program student president, said the ceremony marks a bittersweet end to the student’s work at Northeast.
“Today we begin the rest of our lives treating people in hospitals, nursing homes or outpatient clinics. We get to use what we studied so hard for and we get to apply that.”
Other PTA officers this year were Lindsey Gottula, Benedict, vice president, Shelby Paxton, Stuart, secretary, Kirsten Fink, Randolph, treasurer, and Jordan Suckstorf, Norfolk, and Sydney Whitmarsh, Arlington, historians.
Other members of the Class of 2016 include Ryan Ackerman, Alliance; Cameron Eddie, Belden; Claudia Flesner, Pierce; Nathan Greisen, Humphrey; Nelson Jamir, Burwell; Kris Kopetzky and Lindsey Kotschwar, Big Springs; Lydia Lusk, North Platte; Kody Marshall, Cozad; Lazaro Martinez-Perez, Lexington; Delayna Minnick, West Point; Paulina Pohlman,Fond du lac, WI; Kelsie Rozendaal, Columbus; Jennifer Rudolf, Neligh; Lindsey Smith, Apple Valley, CA; and Sydney Whitmarsh, Arlington.