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physical therapist networking
It's never too soon to start building your physical therapy network.

Why Physical Therapists Should Start Networking Immediately

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Hey Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to reach out.  We’d love to have you come train with us. The problem is that we aren’t set up to have you handle your own patient load, and the athletes that we see want to see our staff specifically.  That said, you should for sure make a pilgrimage out here at some point.

Keep up the amazing work. The coach/physio provider is the future of our profession.



I received this response from Kelly Starrett near the end of my first year as a DPT student. It was bittersweet, but the fact that he responded was amazing.

Who is Kelly Starrett and why was I e-mailing him?

At the close of my first year as a DPT student, our clinical director sat us down. We discussed setting up affiliations, requirements, and the lottery system. I, however, wasn’t going to leave the most important portion of the DPT program, my clinical placement, up to a “lottery system”. I wanted the best affiliation possible. That afternoon I contemplated, pondering if I knew a successful therapist who could be a mentor during clinicals. Unfortunately, my network was limited and Cyriax and Maitland were not available, so I turned to Google.Kelly Starrett physical Therapy

“Best physical therapist in NYC”…

“Best PT in the US”…

“Physical therapy professional athletes”…

The results were no help. It turns out the term “best” is quite subjective, especially with the many specialties offered in physical therapy. Then, on my desk, I saw my latest delivery from Amazon – Becoming A Supple Leopard, by Kelly Starrett.

“KStar”, as he is referred to in the Crossfit community, is a PT that treats top-level athletes across the world. He is best known for his bestselling book, mentioned above, and YouTube channel MobilityWOD. Although I wasn’t able to secure an affiliation with Kelly, I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t be afraid to reach out… because they might respond. We exchanged a few more e-mails and at the end he invited me to attend his Movement & Mobility Seminar in Brooklyn, as his guest.

Optimize your time in physical therapy school to grow your career

As students, our priority is to learn the assigned material to pass our classes. We strive to develop the foundation required to pass the NPTE, and more importantly, to provide competent treatment for our future patients. But, as your school load decreases, take time outside of the classroom to grow, personally and professionally. Read blogs. Listen to podcasts on your commute. Leverage the time you have to become familiar with what’s going on in the PT world, aside from the DPT bubble that we tend to live in. Discover new concepts, critically analyze them, and think of how they apply to what you have learned thus far. Afterwards, send an e-mail to a therapist that you admire. Be proactive. Market yourself. Reach out. Connect. Through social media, access to the leaders of our field is at our fingertips.

Seek out local PTs, as well, and set up coffee or lunch. A free afternoon could be spent shadowing a PT that works in a specialty of interest. This experience is much more valuable as a student than when you were volunteering to get into the DPT program. The “what & why” are essential to understanding the principles behind any chosen intervention.

Check out Trait #2 that Keith Mahler looks for when hiring a new therapist. Think of this as your opportunity to practice. If you can’t put yourself out there, it will be hard to do for your clinic. Start developing these connections and skills while you’re a student and you’ll stand out. You may secure that clinical affiliation you’ve always wanted… or get a guest seat at a seminar.

Get your name out there!

Set yourself up for success!

Set the PT world on fire!

Mark Denesha SPT

About Mark Denesha

Physical Therapist, strength training enthusiast, & team member at NGPT. Find your strength.

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