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A 2016 Neligh-Oakdale graduate was among the graduating class of Northeast Community College’s physical therapist assistant (PTA) program.
Mirissa Hurtig of Neligh was one of 15 students from the Class of 2019 who participated in a recognition ceremony recently where they received their PTA pins before family, friends, faculty and staff in the Lifelong Learning Center on the Norfolk campus.
“As part of their studies, the students took part in 16-weeks of clinical education in order to experience working with patients in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities,” said Tere Karella, faculty member and clinical coordinator for the program.
Karella said students are assigned a clinical instructor who oversees the student during the clinical rotation.
“These clinical instructors are physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who are not paid to be instructors. They volunteer their time with students because they believe in the future of physical therapy,” she said. “Our program would not be in existence if it wasn’t for these clinical instructors.”
The Northeast PTA program worked with over 40 facilities, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants across the United States, most of which are in Nebraska, during the students’ clinical rotation.
Also during the ceremony, Andrea Suhr, faculty member and PTA Club supervisor, outlined the number of meetings, fundraisers, and service learning projects the students took part in over the past year.
Kyle Broadfoot, a physical therapist assistant at Tri Valley Hospital in Cambridge, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
He told the students professionals like himself learn as much as the students when they work together in clinical education settings.
“(Students) come with a lot of skills and new techniques and we’re always very happy with the things that you teach us. That really speaks to the caliber of this program.”
Broadfoot said the quality of the students who graduate from Northeast is superb and the Northeast PTA program has a good reputation. He told the students, to “be proud of that. Be proud that Northeast is known throughout, not only this state, but across the Midwest as well.”
His wife, Deidra (Brooks) Broadfoot, is a graduate of Northeast’s PTA program.
Paige Wuebben, Hartington, PTA program student president, told her classmates that their instructors have prepared them well.
“All of the sacrifices made were worth it. Because now we are able to go out into the world and do what we love – which is make a difference in the lives of people we encounter. We are the true definition of success.”
Other PTA officers this year were Sara Czarnick, Silver Creek, vice president; Shelby Vesely, Wisner, secretary, Kayla Vancura, Columbus, treasurer; and Rachel Mohlke, Nampa, ID, and Courtney Pick, Hartington, historians.
Other members of the Class of 2019 include Justine Apfel, Norfolk; Brody Forman, McCool Junction; Melissa Franklin, Ainsworth; Trenton Guenther, Niobrara; Haley Haefner, Columbus; Mirissa Hurtig, Neligh; Katie Muehlmeier, Norfolk; Sarah Prohaska, Prague; and Ethan Thomsen, Ord.
Laura Schwanebeck serves as Northeast PTA program director and instructor.