Guest Interview: Shannon Greenwald, PT, DPT

Conversations with Clinicians: Shannon Greenwald, PT, DPT

Shannon Greenwald, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist 

Current Physical Therapy Setting
Outpatient Orthopedics

DPT Program Attended
Columbia University

Today, we sit down with Shannon Greenwald, PT, DPT, to discuss her journey from a different industry to becoming a physical therapist and her expertise in working with patients in the outpatient orthopedics setting.

Shannon Greenwald PT School Consulting

Why did you decide to become a physical therapist?

I was doing a business model assessment of a PT clinic for a class in a different field. A therapist was about to take a range of motion measurement of his patient’s knee flexion to determine if he could return to sport. The therapist asked if I could help out and hold the patient down while he cranked on the knee. I obliged. The patient was cursing up a storm and screaming but he achieved the range necessary. I was so stunned by the experience; “what is this fascinating field?!” As I looked into the industry further I loved seeing how science and creativity could work together to problem solve. I was hooked.

What made you choose the physical therapy school that you ultimately attended?

I applied to schools in states I wanted to live in or would eventually want to work in. I never thought I’d actually get into Columbia but when I did I felt on top of the world. I want to be challenged and there was no better school to do that than at Columbia University.

What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of physical therapy school?

The most challenging part of physical therapy school is the sheer quantity of science that needs to be absorbed. The most rewarding part was when you finally understood it all and could actually make sense of it!

How did you decide to work in the outpatient orthopedics physical therapy setting?

I was torn between the hospital setting and outpatient orthopedics setting but ultimately I wanted a
more fun environment where I could use my sports experience to be creative with exercises and interventions.

What’s your favorite population to work with within the outpatient orthopedics setting? Are you hoping to develop a specialty in the future?

I personally enjoy having a variety of patients, patient ages and patient injuries in order to keep myself
stimulated. As long as my whole day isn’t the same injury or same type of patient, I’m pretty happy.

What’s one thing you know now that you wish you had known as a physical therapy student?

Making time to exercise would probably have kept me more sane!

What’s one piece of advice you would like to share with future physical therapists?

For the students – there is a world outside of physical therapy! Enjoy it. For the future PTs – we have a very fun and interesting field. Enjoy it!

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