A recent UAB graduate in physical therapy, Marguerite Marquez answers questions about her first months as part of the UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center (SRC) team.
What has your experience as an SRC inpatient rehab therapist been like so far?
It’s been challenging and rewarding. I have felt pushed to think critically and provide the highest level of care possible. It has been exciting to be given high expectations to meet and work with colleagues who are eager to help me achieve them. It can be intimidating, but I think that is a healthy thing – it keeps me curious and willing to ask for guidance from more experienced therapists.
What were some things that attracted you to join the team?
Spain Rehab’s reputation and national ranking as a frontrunner in patient care quality was initially a big draw for me. However, what stuck out more was the attitude of the therapists. I attended PT school at UAB, and during my adult neuro course, we participated in labs taught by therapists from different neuro settings. The therapists from Spain Rehab were always so intelligent and excited to teach. I always left those lab sessions feeling challenged, excited about my profession, and wanting to know more. When it was time to start looking for jobs, Spain Rehab was at the top of my list.
Mentorship is an important part of clinical skill development. Can you describe your mentorship experience so far?
Mentorship was highly important to me throughout my job search, especially in this setting, because of the wide range of diagnoses and patient presentations we see. During my interview, I was asked by both the staff and leadership what an ideal mentorship would look like for me. Everyone has gone out of their way to make this happen for me.
When I started, I was mentored by an experienced and wonderful therapist, and we shared a patient caseload for the first 3-4 weeks. I gradually took on more responsibility until I was eventually treating and documenting on the full caseload. Once I reached that point, I was given my own caseload and encouraged to request “mentor time” when needed. This has given me space to grow by treating my own caseload but also the freedom to try new, challenging treatment techniques with an experienced PT by my side when needed. Staff therapists often offer to demonstrate the use of different equipment and treatment techniques. Everyone wants to create a solid, well-rounded team.
Do you have any advice for upcoming graduates? Why should SRC be at the top of their list of employers?
Keep your mind open, and take time to decide which clinical setting makes you feel the most driven. While I was studying for the NPTE, I was fortunate to observe at Spain for a day so that I could really see what a normal schedule was like, and I left feeling excited. That day solidified my decision to apply for a job here; I would recommend observation wherever you consider to apply. I love Spain Rehab, in large part because I feel driven and motivated every day. I feel like I’ll never stop learning, and I love that. The staff never hesitate to answer my questions and facilitate a great learning environment, and there is a definite cohesive energy toward continuous improvement. If I did it again, I wouldn’t change my decision at all.
Learn more and apply for career opportunities with UAB Medicine Rehabilitation Services.