Physical Therapist Assistant Student Developed Passion After Father’s Motorcycle Accident
Cheyenne McCormack first developed a passion for physical therapy when her father was in a serious motorcycle accident; his work with a physical therapist helped him recover and left a lasting impression on her.
Cheyenne, who had been in the Navy, decided to pursue a career in physical therapy. She found the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Carrington College, sent in her information, and had a tour.
“I got to see the lab while students were learning, and I saw how everyone was having fun,” she says. “It was a small, tight-knit learning environment and I really liked that.”
Cheyenne began the PTA program at Carrington College in September of 2019. Her favorite thing about the program is her cohort group, which she finds incredibly supportive, and her instructors, who are always there to help.
“I enjoy how I can approach any instructor with questions,” she says. “It’s made COVID changes easier, too.”
COVID-19 has changed the teaching format a bit—lectures are online and condensed; and labs, which are still in person, require full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
“It’s a little less time on campus right now,” she explains, “but that will change. As cohorts, we all help each other outside of class, too.”
Instructors teach a skill, and in labs, students pair up to practice that skill. One example of what they learn is joint mobilization over the whole body.
“That’s something that isn’t taught at a lot of schools,” Cheyenne says. “It gives us an edge. Some of the other labs we’ve done recently are ultrasound, hot and cold packs, and gait analysis.”
Gait analysis is an important skill for PTAs to know well; they learn it by watching instructors act out gait deviations and then learning how to correct it through exercise.
Cheyenne will start her clinical (externship) next term, which is her last term, but because of COVID-19, PTA students are still trying to figure out what that will look like. For now, Cheyenne is enjoying learning. She would like to work as a traveling PTA for a couple of years.
“I’m from a tiny town,” she says, “So I’d like to work in rural settings, in underserved communities. That would be ideal for me.”
Cheyenne will graduate in April 2021; we think her passion and dedication to others will shine through in her new career—and we wish her success in wherever it takes her.